Most Dangerous

The top 25 most dangerous neighborhoods in America. Detroit has four of them, including the top three. Chicago claims the fourth most dangerous. Together, Michigan and Illinois contain 11 of the 25 worst neighborhoods.

Houston has two, Memphis has two, and just across the river, West Memphis has one. St Louis has two, Indianapolis has two, and the remaining 25 are rounded out with cities that have one each: Tulsa; Flint, and Saginaw, MI; Atlanta; Nashville; Greenville; and  Spartanberg.

Cosby, Martin, and Zimmerman

So when Bill Cosby was recently asked about the Martin/Zimmerman incident, his reply was this:

“We’ve got to get the gun out of the hands of people who are supposed to be on neighborhood watch,” said Mr. Cosby, whose remarks were the first he has made publicly about the case.
“Without a gun, I don’t see Mr. Zimmerman approaching Trayvon by himself,” Mr. Cosby explained. “The power-of-the-gun mentality had him unafraid to confront someone. Even police call for backup in similar situations.
“When you carry a gun, you mean to harm somebody, kill somebody,” he said.

There is so much fail in this statement, I will have to tackle it a piece at a time. I have so far tried to remain mostly silent on this case, because we all know that the press lies to sell more advertising, and we don’t have all of the evidence, but I simply must weigh in here.

1 Zimmerman was not on “neighborhood watch” at the time of the shooting. According to his statements, he was on his way to Target when he spotted someone walking in the rain behind a row of houses. This made him suspicious, so he called police.

2 Also according to Zimmerman’s statements, it was Travon Martin who approached George Zimmerman and initiated the contact. Before Martin’s approach, Zimmerman was simply following him. Martin approached Zimmerman, initiated contact and then punched Zimmerman in the head, knocking him to the ground. Once Zimmerman was on the ground, Martin sat on top of Zimmerman’s chest and began pounding Zimmerman’s head into the pavement.

Even though the only witnesses to the incident only saw things from the point in time where Zimmerman was on the ground with Martin on top of him and didn’t see what started the altercation, the ones who have come forward have not contradicted Zimmerman’s account. Zimmerman’s account of this event is also supported by the physical evidence: There were cuts on Zimmerman’s head, and grass on his shirt. Witnesses heard someone yelling for help, and this can also be heard on the 911 tape. According to the funeral director (who is admittedly not a forensic examiner), there were no signs of a struggle on Martin’s body, aside from the gunshot wound. However, we know from witness statements and from the screams on the 911 tape that Martin was involved in a physical altercation with Zimmerman.

If you are in a struggle where someone can be heard screaming for help, but you are not uninjured in that struggle, that indicates that you are the aggressor. For, again according to witnesses, one man was sitting on the other, and the one on top was seen striking the one on the bottom. It is unlikely that the one on the top is the one screaming for help. This all seems to support Zimmerman’s account of events.

The only question here is in who initiated the altercation. Did it go down like Zimmerman claimed? Or did Zimmerman initiate the fight? The police questioned Zimmerman immediately following the shooting, and have done so on multiple occasions since. Even though he had no knowledge of what the other witnesses had to say, and very little time to work on a story, no glaring inconsistencies have emerged. Lies are seldom this airtight. I lean towards believing that Zimmerman’s story is the truth. Until and unless something else is revealed to contradict this chain of events, I think this was a lawful use of lethal force in self defense.

3 I carry a gun. I do not carry a gun so I can kill people. I carry a gun to protect myself from the unlawful initiation of force by others. You do not have to worry about my gun unless you intend on attacking me. I suppose Mr. Cosby would be happier if Martin had simply pounded Zimmerman’s head into the concrete and given him a brain injury, like what happened to this guy.

Many have tried to say that “Stand your Ground” is at fault here. That is incorrect. Stand your ground simply says that I do not have to run away before defending myself. Even if that law did not exist, there are only two possibilities here:
Either Zimmerman initiated the fight, which would not entitle him to the claim of self defense at all; or

Martin initiated the fight, which with Martin sitting on his chest, made it impossible for Zimmerman to attempt to flee.

We are military

This douchebag says that he and the New Black Panther Party are “military” and that they are going to “apprehend” Zimmerman.He claims an ability to perform a “citizen’s arrest” under the constitution, and claims that according to “the street people’s law” Zimmerman is guilty of murder, and states that he is not subject to “the white man’s law,” which is “America’s law.”

He then says that Zimmerman will be tried by the “people” and once found, he will “not be alive.” He calls blacks who oppose his ideas “Uncle Tom Negroes.”

It appears as though this New Black Panther party and the rest of the race baiters want a race war. Racist dickheads.

The biology of self control, part 2

This is a continuation of the post on the physiological origins of self control and criminals. For the first part, click here.

The next neurotransmitter that is important is Serotonin. Serotonin is not capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier, so the brain must produce all that it needs. Serotonin is produced by converting an amino acid called tryptophan into Serotonin. (Serotonin is also used for other purposes in other parts of the body, but that is not within the scope of this post.)

Serotonin is the chemical that causes us to feel loved, safe, and comfortable. This is why meals high in tryptophan are called comfort foods. This is also how the drug Ecstasy (MDMA) works. That drug causes a massive release of Serotonin from your neurons. Long term use of MDMA actually causes a decrease in Serotonin, though, as the cells that produce it begin to “burn out.” Various other drugs that are centrally acting also work on Serotonin and its receptors, like SSRIs.

When we do what we know that we are supposed to do, the frontal lobe rewards us with a rush of Serotonin. This is the brain’s reward system for good behavior. The Midbrain rewards pleasurable behavior with Dopamine. The balance between the two is the way our behavior is controlled: Midbrain rewards us for pleasure seeking, the Frontal Lobe rewards us for controlling our bad behavior. Most people are fairly balanced between the two, and mostly seek out pleasurable but good behavior.

There are things that can upset this balance:
A mother who exposes her unborn child to alcohol can damage the frontal lobe, and giver birth to a child with impulsive and unsocial behavior. Remember hearing about how the prenatal exposure to alcohol affects the corpus callosum? That’s the membrane between the left brain and the right brain that passes information between the two hemispheres of the brain. The corpus callosum of kids with fetal alcohol syndrome is damaged, and in some cases it is absent. This is very similar to what happens when a “normal” person drinks alcohol. After a few drinks, alcohol shuts down the left side of the frontal lobe, which no longer functions the way it should and this suppresses the frontal lobe, causing the person to act on impulse, disregarding consequences, and seek more reward from the Midbrain. A person will act to do things, even  when they know that it is wrong and will cause them trouble in the end. With long term alcohol and drug use, this condition becomes a permanent dysfunction.

Since much of this is biochemical and not conscious thought, people with frontal lobes that are damaged by congenital defects or drug use have no way of stopping this behavior.

That brings us back to recognizing a person’s potential for becoming a killer. We can look for people who:
 – chronically use alcohol or drugs,
– have displayed a history of not producing enough Serotonin. They are easy to recognize, as they have problems controlling their impulsive behavior (in other words- criminal records). However, this only is a reliable indicator if the criminal KNEW that what he was doing was wrong. After all, the person must know it is the wrong thing to do, if the frontal lobe is to be expected to control the impulse.
– Identifying others who have problems with their impulse control center. This suggests that there may be a test that can be performed that will indicate a person’s proclivity for committing crimes, which may mean that there is a medical solution for some criminals.

You also can see why gun control has little effect. The criminal is a criminal because his brain doesn’t stop him from committing acts that he knows are wrong. He knows it is illegal to rob someone, but he doesn’t care. He knows as a convicted criminal that it is wrong for him to own a gun, but doesn’t care.

On the other side of that, a man convicted of an obscure felony like owning more than 5 sex toys is not a threat to public safety and is unlikely to commit a crime with a firearm, as his impulse control is most probably fully functional.

Killers, biology, and control

There are always people who think that keeping people from owning guns is the answer to preventing murder. These people say that anyone is capable of being a criminal, and therefore guns are too dangerous for anyone but cops and the military. Others say that there is no way to predict who will be a killer, but is this true? Why do people become criminals, addicts, or killers? The answer is in our brains.

The neurological system of human beings is controlled by chemicals called neurotransmitters. The brain manufactures more than 60 different neurotransmitters that are responsible for everything we do from breathing, to pupil contractions, and even our thoughts and emotions. For the purposes of emotion and this discussion, there are three that we are talking about: Dopamine, Serotonin, and Norepinephrine.

Everything that we do that brings us pleasure involves Dopamine. If it makes you happy, Dopamine is the chemical that is responsible. The nervous system uses dopamine as the reward for good behavior. Serotonin is the love and comfort chemical. This neurotransmitter gives us our feelings of belonging, self-confidense, and calm. Norepinephrine is responsible for the “4 F’s” (feeding, fleeing, fighting, and f*cking).

In the human brain, there are components that control our emotions and behaviors without our conscious control. Among these is the midbrain. A small area of the midbrain called the Substantia Nigra makes dopamine, and passes that reward through a structure called the nucleus accumbens, past the frontal lobe, and to the rest of the brain. Since the midbrain is out of our conscious control, there are no ethics or morals involved in this level of control, this is pure instinct. In this way, the midbrain causes us to do whatever brings us pleasure.

We can exhibit a certain amount of control by utilizing the frontal lobe of the brain to interdict some of these impulsive, hedonistic impulses. You see, the frontal lobe of the brain is where our sense of morals, self control,  and duty originate. In children and young adults (up to about age 25) this area of the brain is not yet fully developed, and this is why people in that age group do stupid and irresponsible things.

In addition, various genetic and environmental factors either damage or prevent the development of this part of the brain. Individuals that do not have a fully developed frontal lobe have little self-control, no sense of right and wrong, and no morals. In short, they are out of control criminals.

Part two of this post can be found here.

Head in the sand policy of Osceola County

Florida Law Enforcement agencies have long followed a policy of denying the existence of gangs in the state, even though it is at odds with the opinion of the Florida Attorney General’s office [pdf alert] Florida police agencies say gang members use any information released about the crimes they commit to glamorize their lifestyles and attract new members. The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office generally follows that policy.

That policy, it seems, is failing.Hardly a day goes by when there is not a reported shooting in the Central Florida area, and many other violent crimes go unreported. Due to the long standing policy of ignoring gang related crimes, it is impossible to get an accurate picture of gang related crime in the area, but I can tell you from personal experience that it is growing.

The frequency of gang related graffiti is growing, as is the frequency of gang member sightings. The Outlaws Motorcycle gang has a clubhouse not far from where I live. A couple of friends of mine were recently riding their motorcycles and were stopped by five Outlaws, who told them that no one is allowed to ride motorcycles in the area as a part of any motorcycle riding club, unless that riding club paid dues to the Outlaws. They then demanded that my friends remove the leather jackets, and pay a fine of $50 cash on the spot. Outnumbered 5-2 by armed gang members, they paid.

The Latin Kings have staked out Poinciana as their territory, as well as parts of Kissimmee. The Bloods own other parts of Kissimmee. Saint Cloud has problems with white gangs like the Aryan Brotherhood. Orlando has similar gang and violent crime problems.

Your odds of being a victim of a violent crime in Osceola County are 1 in 100. In Orange County, the odds double to 1 in 50.Obviously, there are things you can do to reduce those odds. Don’t go into bad neighborhoods like Pine Hills (aka Crime Hills), Paramore, McLaren Circle, Waterway Village, and other notoriously unsafe areas. Don’t be a gang member, sell drugs, or engage in other highly risky behavior.

It is more likely that you will be a victim of a violent crime than involved in a car crash or a house fire with a fatality.You don’t hesitate to wear a seat belt, or own smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, and other safety devices, yet the odds favor your using a firearm to defend your life more often than any of those other items.

What a difference 70 years makes

In May of 1931, Al Capone was sent to the Federal Penitentiary in Atlanta for the capital crime of tax evasion, which today can get you made secretary of the treasury. Al Capone was made famous as the mafia boss who became rich by illegally circumventing alcohol prohibition, a law that is widely recognized as a mistake, as many Americans ignored the law, and in the process created powerful crime syndicates that engage in murder, bribery, and other crimes, corrupting the legal system in the process.

Of course, we learned our lesson and declared that we would not repeat that mistake again. 70 years later, the prohibition on drugs is going well, and history is busy not repeating itself.

Tell me

Jessie Dotson was born in 1975, but his troubles with the law didn’t begin until he reached the ripe old age of 15, when Dotson was charged with disorderly conduct for making threats against his mother as she tried to discipline him. A month later, he was charged with assault after a 13-year-old told his parents Dotson punched him in the face and threatened to “put him in the hospital” if the younger teen didn’t bring Dotson $25 the next day.

The following year (1991), Dotson wanted to beat up his brother, so his mother locked him in a bedroom. Dotson escaped by breaking open the door, and then punched holes in the walls and threatened to kill his mother. He was arrested for disorderly conduct. That same year, the 17 year old Dotson was also arrested for possession of a sawed off shotgun and a pistol.

In 1992, he was arrested again for disorderly conduct because of a fight with a neighbor.

It was in 1994 when he was arrested for committing his first murder and served fourteen years in state prison. Just three days after his release in January of 2008, Dotson pulled a gun on his brother and threatened to kill him over a coat that Dotson was attempting to steal from his brother. The brother called the cops, and no arrest was made.

Dotson went to the brother’s home several weeks later, and shot or stabbed everyone there. Six people were killed by gunfire, including Dotson’s brother and three other adults, Dotson’s two nephews were stabbed and murdered. The nephews were 2 and 4 years old. Three other children, aged 2 months, 6 years, and 9 years, were left for dead after also being stabbed.

Since Dotson was under age in 1991 when he was first caught with firearms, tell me how gun control worked.
Since possession of an unregistered sawed off shotgun is illegal, tell me how registration worked.
Since he was a convicted murderer, tell me how gun laws worked.

Decision point, part two

Margret Puig Durinick was being attacked by her husband, Christopher Edward Durinick. She ran to her neighbor’s house, and pounded on the front door of the home of neighbor Leo English, and begged for help. That was when the husband shot his wife once from less than 100 feet away. She collapsed in English’s front doorway. English drew his revolved and returned fire, striking the man in the abdomen (not a bad shot for a handgun- 100 feet, at night). The wounded husband returned home, where he killed himself.

Police stated that English’s actions are not what they recommend people do when faced with a dangerous situation, but that he is not being investigated. Morons. A man murders a woman in front of you, and you are now faced with a murderer who is armed with a rifle. He is less than 100 feet away, and has just killed someone in front of you. As a witness, odds are high that you are next. What do the police recommend that you do? I’m sorry, but that has got to be the stupidest thing I have ever heard anyone say.

Decision point

A woman videotapes a man as he attempts to break into her home. He even taunts her through the glass, telling her, “no flash photography.” Then the man tries to force his way in through a door. “The suspect then began to turn the door handle and push his body against the door. The suspect then began to look into the residence,” the report stated. “The victim used her camcorder to videotape the suspect.”

Anthony Bucci has a long police record going back to 2004 when he turned 18, including arrests for prowling twice, felony burglary, misdemeanor drug possession (seven times), disorderly conduct (dropped in plea deal), loitering, resisting arrest (dropped in plea deal), and trespass. He has pled guilty to trespassing, petit theft twice, felony drug possession twice, possession of drug paraphernalia (five times), trespassing (three times), battery on a LEO, shoplifting, trespassing in an occupied dwelling (pled down from burglary to an occupied dwelling), carrying a concealed weapon not a firearm, and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon (pled down in a plea deal to simple battery).   He can now add another arrest for attempted burglary of an occupied dwelling to that. That was just what I could find in the court record for Orange and Osceola County. My guess is that there is more, but the record of his juvenile record is sealed.

Considering that he appears to be getting more and more violent, and doesn’t seem to care that the homes he is breaking into are occupied, it is only a matter of time before he kills someone, and the antigun crowd will rush to blame the easy availability of guns for the killing, even though he has been charged with felonies multiple times, and misdemeanors 14 times, each time the system lets him plea the charges down, and he has yet to do any serious time. If a man is breaking in to your home, this is probably the kind of man you will be facing. Do you want to face him with a camera, or with the most effective weapon possible?