Archive for Violence

Mass Murder Tipping Points

About a third the way in, a caller interrupted my gun portion of the rant. He was a a registered firearms dealer, and coincidentally Black. He opposes any additional gun laws or regulations. He was of the it’s-not-the-specific-gun side. We each got out our views. I’m glad he called.

Otherwise, I asked whether the Dallas deaths of five police officers by sniper would be a tipping point. Sandy Hook, to many of our surprise, was not. Will Dallas be? Will the many deaths of young Black men this year and last be?

I hold that we need both legal and cultural shifts. Obviously to me the cultural part is much harder. Take policing. Cops are no better than other professionals at prosecuting or judging their peers’ actions. No matter how plain the audio, video and witness testimony, cops almost invariably skate away from what the rest of the world sees as murder.

Likewise, with guns, they should be tools not toys. No what politicians now term common-sense restrictions should be a problem, but they are. Will the assassination of five officers in Dallas be a tipping point for legislation?

 

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Boston Council President Podcast

smurphy.pngSteve Murphy, president of Boston’s City Council, joined us for an update on key issues. He’s a pivot for many heady problems (a.k.a. opportunities, to optimists).

We touched on the interlocking casino in Boston/hole in the ground at Downtown Crossing, where the city’s money will come from and go in these tight times, the PILOT moneys from universities and other non-profits, and the roles of the Council and Mayor Menino in the big issues.

Listen in as the ever ebullient Murphy describes the row of huge issues before him as “real exciting.” Where others might turn and run, he’s eager to engage in the battles and policy.

He describes what I termed as a tag team with Menino and him on pressuring the developer who left the huge hole where Filene’s used to be. He also goes to the heart of whether the East Boston ward or whole city will be in on the casino-siting vote (hearings first; evaluation of role of public money second; vote decision after the process advances).

We didn’t cover everything, but did have a wide-ranging check-in on Boston.

~Mike

icon for podpress  Steve Murphy [32:01m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Political Thanks Podcast

If snide lefties bother you, this is not your podcast. Ryan and Mike chatted up almost entirely political folk, events and trends they are thankful for this season and year.

We didn’t like casinos and slots passing into law. On the other hand or hands, we’re still delighted with the GOP Presidential band of buffoons. We talked up the good competition on the Dem side for U.S. Senate, the Occupy movement and much more. We had a good time.

icon for podpress  Political Thanks Due [29:49m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Pressley Aiming to Stay Rooted

Boston’s City Councilor championing women, girls and families means to get re-elected on November 8th. Ayanna Pressley is more than the first woman of color to sit on the body, she had brought up issues and problems/solutions previously ignored or poorly addressed, such as teen pregnancy and violence against women.

She’ll join us at an unusual day and time for us, Thursday, 10/27, at 9:30 AM. If you can listen live, go here then. Afterward, her show will be available on demand there, back here at Left Ahead or on iTunes.

The first-term Councilor though is in a crowded field. Seven candidates each want one of the four at-large seats…and all four incumbents are running. We spoke with the acknowledged greatest threat to their re-election, Michael Flaherty, most recently last week. Many news stories and columns and one of my blogs, muse on whether he can return after a couple years out of office and whether zip-code voting in a low-turnout poll will favor him.

Even in this off-year election with no state-wide, Boston mayoral, Congressional or Presidential races on ballot, this at-large contest has some interest. Because at-large is for the whole city, the candidates have to cover a lot of geography, many meetings and seemingly all-day/all-evening forums and other public appearances. For one example, I did an up-close one with Pressley when she was in my Hyde Park neighborhood, with the likes of District Counselor Rob Consalvo, Council President Steve Murphy, and Mayor Tom Menino. We’ll be asking her whether that kind of support and her joining campaigns with top fund-raiser at-large incumbent John Connolly will make the difference this time. Listen in at 9:30 on Thursday.

~Mike

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Illegal Guns Off the Street Podcast

Boston doesn’t have a gun problem so much as a gun-trafficking problem, said our guest today. Nancy Robinson heads Citizens for Safety.

Listen in as she describes efforts coordinated with law enforcement and others aiming to get illegal guns out of the hands and pockets of criminals and youth. She describes the small set of gun dealers who supply most of the guns used in crimes, and how large numbers of handguns move from lax-gun-law states to places like Boston.

She speaks of the how tracking a single gun used in a crime to its middlemen and dealer may get one or two such illegal weapons off the street. Then cracking down on a dealer who sold 20 or 40 at a time can be more important, up to holding the source of a criminal enterprise of illicit gun transfers responsible could potentially take a thousand or more out of criminal’s hands.

She and her organization are not anti-gun. She speaks favorably of Second-Amendment rights and responsible gun owners. Instead, she favors such bills as the one recently introduced by MA Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz (S.1195) that would limit gun purchases to one a month, track the resale/secondary markets, and otherwise act to prevent illegal sales.

The model Robinson favors is a combination. In additional to involving criminal justice, she looks to the public-health model. Think peanut butter; when a toxin is found in a batch, that model tracks the source, say a large farm or processing plant and then requires cleaning it up or shutting it down. She said that locking up the shooters is not the whole solution. “We can’t arrest our way out of the problem.”

icon for podpress  Nancy Robinson [31:44m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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No to Illegal Handguns

The founder and coordinator of a coalition fighting illegal handguns joins us this week. The head of the Harvard Youth Violence Prevention Center pointed us the Nancy Robinson of Citizens for Safety (a.k.a. Where Did the Gun Come From?), saying the coalition’s effort could offer the best ROI right here, right now.

Robinson’s will discuss efforts to get illegal handguns out of the hands of youth and criminals. They work to identify where the guns original, who the straw purchasers are and how the weapons get here. They aim to hold dealers accountable as well as tweaking related laws.

If you can catch the show live, listen in here at 2:30 PM Eastern Tuesday, July 5th. After the show, you can get it on demand at that URL, here at Left Ahead or on iTunes.

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Outspoken Councilor Pressley Podcast

apressley.jpgAyanna Pressley still does not mince words. On today’s podcast, she opened by saying she was in a hospital with her mother nearby in an ICU. She is likewise plain about her goals, motivations and role as Boston City Councilor.

Those who want background on the first woman of color to sit on Council can start with her profile on the city site. As useful may be a profile by Bianca Vasquez Toness that aired on WBUR. Note that Mike was a minor source for the latter.

This first-term Councilor arrived with an aggressive agenda, which she has only expanded as she tackles issues close to her heart and mind. Listen in as she speaks of advancing youth and women, protecting them from violence, and seeing that all have access to meaningful sex information. She even chairs her new standing Committee on Women & Healthy Communities to address a number of those related concerns.

We spoke of how she’ll approach this year’s suddenly exciting at-large Councilor race, what she sees as the role and duty of Council, and where she is seeking funds in these tight times for her goals. She described how she doesn’t mind making people feel uncomfortable, so long as that leads to good results.

icon for podpress  Ayanna Pressley [30:54m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Arroyo Talks Youth Emphasis Podcast

At-large Boston City Councilor Felix G. Arroyo joined us today. We talked what he’s done, how he works, where he sees troubles coming up, and what his re-election strategy includes.

Odd Sound Note: We apologize for the clicking in this podcast. Apparently our host, BlogTalkRadio, had problems that put almost a drumbeat in the recording background. We apologize to you and Councilor Arroyo. He’s worth listening too even with the extra noise.

We promised we’d duplicate his contact information from near the end of the half hour. He is leading a series of 10 to 15 public meetings on preventing youth violence this summer and beyond. They’ll be in every city district, with multiples in some places. He is encouraging parents, youth, police, civic leaders, street workers and other to attend and discuss the issues and propose solutions.

The schedule is in the works and will start soon. To get the details, contact his office at 617-635-4205 or felix.arroyo@cityofboston.gov. This will give us an excuse to have him return after the meetings to discuss his plans…and to get an interference-free show.

Arroyo agreed with previous guests in the race that the four at-larges work well together, but each with unique emphases. He discussed his focus on youth in jobs, education and safety. He illustrated how he approaches the job with such examples. For one, when funds for summer jobs for kids dwindled, he led the effort to get the city’s business partners to step up and bridge most of the gap.

Listen in as he covers his areas of concern and what he intends to do for them. He also says he doesn’t take re-election for granted and that he’s counting on constituents to judge him on what he’s done.

icon for podpress  Felix Arroyo [31:15m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Post bin Laden Opportunities Podcast

Flippancy aside (this show was billed Zombie bin Laden), we ended talking about this huge moment, including but far beyond Osama bin Laden’s take-down. We ended up calling for progressive sorts to think about what they want our government to do and let the Administration and Congress know.

Sure, Al Qaeda is still there and it or similar terrorists will hit small and maybe big short- and mid-term. Yet, in this democratic spring of aspiring nations trying to throw off their oppressive governments throughout North Africa and the Middle East, we have a greater opportunity to create partners and allies. Properly handled, we could stifle terrorists and create a more peaceful larger world. This is a moment like none other since the end of WWII.

In today’s show, Ryan and Mike spoke of some of the things we need to change, and chances for us to tell our President and Congressional delegations to do. There’s the hundreds of billions annually thrown away on Cold War defenses against non-existent enemies (Rep. Barney Frank is on that and will need support). There’s the craziness that torturing people and massively spying on Americans keeps us safe. In fact, those are what bin Laden wanted to drive us to all along.

Listen in as we kick around what we see as the opportunities available. We want to see time, effort and money spent more on expanding a democratic world, rather than pretending we can build and hide in a Fortress U.S.A.

icon for podpress  Zombie bin Laden [27:35m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Cops of the World Podcast

How delightful when friends surprise you. Ryan and Mike called into today’s show not sure how the other came down on the U.S. involvement in military action in Libya.

Yet with all of President Obama’s dithering and as Mike would have it holding up false hopes to the Libyan rebels, the true coalition effort seems necessary to both of us. The Congressional posturing of joining the UN Security Council effort (providing the bulk of the firepower if being clear on not leading) will wait. They’re off on a 10-day recess being self-important.

Listen in to hear our take on what this will mean short term and beyond. We can even hope of a re-evaluation for our outsized, outrageous defense budget in this horrific recession period.

icon for podpress  Cops of the World [29:46m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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