Ferguson, Missouri Protest Sparks
got an SOS text message from Ferguson from a Facebook friend, who was one of
the principals in organizing the protests surrounding the killing of teenager Michael
the time of contact, teargas was raining down on the community. His wife had almost
been arrested. They barely made it home safely out of the chaos, home to their
what he saw, it sounded like SyFy:
“We have seen that. They were prepared with riot gear assault rifles
and wooden bullets and teargas from the very beginning tanks on rail cars moved
into St Louis days ago also there have been several military vehicles as well
as helicopters and drones there are parts of the city that we can't go to at
night… They almost have arrested my wife on Sunday for helping a teenager who
was being descended upon by circle of pigs.
We decided not to go to Ferguson tonight. But we live 15 min away.
Yes sir, curfew. Martial law… My wife told the sisters to leave the children at
home. Ferguson is entirely locked down now… they start shooting massive amounts
of teargas at night… We need to work
on getting international exposure and support so that we will not be isolated…
Something strange is going on they are trying to provoke us… this feels like some sort of weird
I was texting, they went into the fourth straight night of rebellion.
first thing the paramilitary police
did, when they went into Ferguson, MO, was exercise martial law. They started grabbing any and everybody,
grabbing their phones and laptops. The local cable TV went on 2-day blackout.
It was hard to get their story out, and they were getting no feedback from the
outside world. News journalists were attacked by tear gas, threatened, and
arrested, in violation of Freedom of the
journalists can Petition for Suppression of First Amendment Right, Freedom of
asked my personal advice and these were my recommendations:
Continue the fight
Engage and Draw out the forces against you
Stay out of firing range
Keep the children off the streets of the war zone.
the protest raged, the residents of Ferguson were blacked out from the outside
world, like Jena, LA. The continuation of the fight would ensure the story of
Mike Brown’s shooting would come to light. Through non-violent peaceful
protest, hands up, don’t shoot demonstrations, they were fired upon by tear
gas, which is a chemical weapon banned by the United Nation. Therefore, the
City of Ferguson is guilty of using unlawful chemical warfare like the apartheid
regime in South Africa (circa 1960s), against the African-American citizens,
for the purpose of suppressing descent.
shooting of the teenager Mike Brown call to mind all the other young black men
who have been killed across the United States since Barack Obama became
President. Thank God, the Justice Department is now looking into the pattern of
police shootings and arrests, and the disparities in the use of force. We, as
an African-American community, have historical standing with the United Nations.
[Read WE CHARGE GENOCIDE] This is the charge against the City of Ferguson in
the eyes of the world.
involves more than the shooting of Mike Brown, but the shooting down of young
black men, at discretion, or tasing them to death. The systematic elimination
of black men weakens the family structure and the entire African-American
a former PTA President, school system volunteer, and often critic of our
schools, I have spent the past 20 years working to improve our children’s
education. But, as I observed from the beginning, there have always been too
many cooks in the kitchen giving advice on the subject. As a consequence, we
were slow to embrace technology in the classroom; and once technological
advances helped us bridge the digital divide, we were slow to embrace online
education and using internet tools to help close the achievement gap. Also, we
have been hindered by low graduation rates due, in part, to a lack of classroom
management which led to the ill-fated creation of Zero Tolerance policies that has since evolved into the School-to-Prison Pipeline.
one of the principal architects behind the failed zero tolerance policies, a
former covert CIA agent who uses early nineteenth century eugenic pseudoscience, is being cited for his ideas on how to
improve the education system in Texas. The most dangerous part about his ideas
is scapegoating the parents of students for their lack of involvement in the
school system and scapegoating the students for the breakdown in classroom
discipline. Blaming the parents and the students is a popular idea among the
more conservative members of our society, and even among some of us. This is
why author and consultant Charles A.
Murray is being cited in gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott’s Pre-K Education plan.
Abbott’s plan looks and sounds good, it is only because it borrows from a smorgasbord
of ideas we have already thoroughly explored, particularly in our Malcolm
Baldridge Continuous Improvement
model. And, I have always been a believer in starting where we are, and not throwing
the baby out with the bathwater, lock, stock, and barrel, and starting over to reinvent
the wheel by siphoning off valuable resources for public education and putting them
into experimental charter school programs which, to date, have had dubious
mixed results. This new Pre-K Education
plan proposes to use Best Practices
in the classroom, which we have already been investigating, and it undermines
the structure of the public education system in favor of privatizing the system.
premise of these ideas, and the starting point of Charles Murray’s ideologies, begins
with this quote: “Family background has the most decisive
effect on student achievement, contributing to a large performance gap between
children from economically disadvantaged families and those from middle class
homes,” which is cited by Abbott from Murray's book Real Education.
Such a statement seems so simple and self-evident enough
that Mr. Abbott needed no Murray citation. But taking a closer look, we see
more of Mr. Murray’s eugenics idea than Mr. Abbott’s education plan.
Notice, it dichotomizes the “economically
disadvantaged families” from “middle class homes” and it
alludes to the popular stigma about the “family background” of the lesser being
the cause of the academic performance gap. Many people believe this. Therefore,
in order to address the ineffectiveness of the public school system, they
suggest that we should look at the dynamics within the dysfunctional poor
families and their background.
It is also interesting that Murray contrast the
disadvantaged families” with “middle class homes”, with the latter being the ideal “home”, and
the other not really constituting what might be called a home. We, on the other
hand, never automatized family as an isolated unit in society, but always promoted
the concept “It takes a village to raise a child”. However, it is apparent that
not all people concur with the village concept. Murray’s ideas, from his
previously published works, promote the notion that genetics is the cause of
low academic achievement. And that is what separates us.
this makes us very suspicious of what Murray means by “family background”, and
what aspects of family background does he infers leads to low achievement in
academics, and why he states in Real Education argues that “students with lower IQ's are not as
as smarter children and should be siphoned off to vocational programs instead
of sent to college”, and that “only 10 to 20 percent of young adults are
capable of doing college-level work.” Is he ignoring the empirical fact that a
good education can turn low-performing students into high achievers?
Murray, low-IQ is immutable because it is based on genetic factors, such as
brain size. However, these ideas of eugenic factors being attributable to the
cause of poverty and low-IQ and immoral parental lifestyles are not new. Thomas
Malthus, in his book Principle of
Population (1798), uses the same
pseudoscience in his argument against the Poor Laws of England, predicated upon
the Social Darwinian concept of “survival of the fittest”. He argued that the
poor people of England were genetically inferior to the rich. In later
revisions, he expanded this argument to include the darker races being inferior
to the lighter races, based upon a genetic hierarchy. Moreover, Malthus argued
that helping the poor through welfare would move valuable resources out the
economy, which would reduce money available to pay wages, and given to the
unworthy and unfit, which in turn, would provide incentives for laziness, immorality, increase in
the birth of illegitimate children, and discourage people from saving for old
age or illness.
Needless to say, these are popular notions in our society
today, especially in the stigmatization of poor minority families.
Notice the similarities between the Social Darwinians and
the Malthusian theories of the early nineteenth century, and the central thesis
of Charles Murray’s 1984 book Losing Ground:
American Social Policy, 1950–1980. In it, he
proposes all government welfare programs
should be abolished, supposedly because welfare
hurts the very people it was intended to help by “rewarding bad behavior” such
as “illegitimate babies.” He also called for ending
food stamp programs.
Murray's most famous and
controversial book, “The Bell Curve” (1994), co-authored with Richard Herrnstein, promoted racial eugenics theories claiming that
whites and Asians are genetically
superior in intelligence to blacks and Latinos.
Poverty Law center writes: “In Murray’s world, wealth and social power naturally
accrue towards a ‘cognitive elite’
made up of high-IQ individuals (who are overwhelmingly white, male, and from
well-to-do families), while those on the lower end of the eponymous bell curve form an ‘underclass’ whose misfortunes
stem from their low intelligence.
“No woman has
been a significant original thinker in any of the world's great philosophical
traditions… Women have produced a smaller number of important visual artists,
and none that is clearly in the first rank. No female composer is even close to
the first rank. Social restrictions undoubtedly damped down women’s
contributions in all of the arts, but the pattern of accomplishment that did
break through is strikingly consistent with what we know about the respective
strengths of male and female cognitive repertoires.”
The term Cognitive repertoires signify another
way of saying the genetic God-given brain size and capacity to learn.
According to some
research of Charles Murray’s own background, his career peaked in the Vietnam
War years (1965-71) in Thailand, first as a Peace Corps worker, and then, from
1968 onward, in a Pentagon-contracted counterinsurgency program run by the
American Institutes for Research (AIR), which operated under the cover of academic
anthropology research. In 1970, the New
York Review of Books exposed the AIR program in Thailand where
Murray worked in covert military
counter-insurgency program ran by the Department of Defense's research and
development agency ARPA, in cooperation with the CIA.
A 1970 Ramparts magazine investigation into counter-insurgency operations described it as a “behavior control” program through crop
destruction against a rebellious minority hill tribe, the Meo, during the
period that Murray participated in the counter-insurgency program in rural
And now, this man, Charles Murray,
with these ideas and pattern of practices, is being touted as an expert is
education. We should be offended and kicking ourselves for not doing better and
allowing these misguided notions to take parlance in our discussion on
It seems as though we have lost sight
on what is first and foremost: Education should teach our children HOW TO
THINK, to become problem-solvers, as oppose to those who believe education is about
teaching children WHAT TO THINK. With the ability to think, children of today
are empowered with the capabilities of solving tomorrow’s real world problems.
Knowing only what to think leads them down blind channels over which they have
no control or input, to a destination unknown.
The Charles Murray model
of Education is not about educating, but rather about controlling the system of
Education. Some people buy into the idea that regaining control of the
classroom is our most important objective. We think otherwise.
do you call my state senator Wendy Davis “Abortion Barbie”? Is it the color of
her hair, or because she filibustered an amendment to the Texas Abortion Law?
Or, is it both?
consider your usage of term “Abortion Barbie” a slur, not against Wendy Davis
but the Barbie doll, and against the little girls that grew up adoring her. It
is reminiscent of the days of Goldie Hawn on Laugh In when she was typecast as the “dumb blond”. Beauty without a brain was a typical locker
room joke among boys about blonds back in the day. Not only was this blond stereotype
perceived being not very smart, but she was also portrayed on the movie screen
as the poor helpless maiden who always fainted at the first hint of danger, or the
girl tied to the railroad track screaming for help from some chauvinist hero. Do
what are you saying? Are you insinuating that Wendy Davis is a dumb blond,
fearful and weak and a helpless maiden in a man’s world, just because she does
not wave around her Texas six-shooter as a macho posture in the gun rights
I beg your pardon, sir. Wendy Davis did not get into her position as a leader
of our community for any of the above reasons. She is proven. She has defied
the odds and been victorious in battle.
a constituent of Texas Senate District 10 and a friend of Wendy Davis, let me
not lose sight of the fact that a slur against her is a slight against all her
constituents, who voted for her, and love and adore her for her courage.
As for the Abortion Issue, it seems to
me that FOX News and other you other outside media come into our state in the 9th
inning and want to coach the rest of the ball game. It only goes to show your
ignorance of the fight in Texas over abortion, which has been going on for a
long time before you Johnny-come-lately got here. Start with the fact that Texas
already has an abortion law. Are you surprise? It is authorized under the state’s
Health and Safety Code, which was enacted in 2003, and amended in 2011 and 2013.
171.003 reads: An abortion may be
performed only by a physician licensed to practice medicine in this state.
it or not, the first five words say it all: An abortion may be performed. The law dictates the terms and
conditions under which a doctor can administer an abortion in Texas. For
example, in a situation where the life and health of a pregnant mother hangs in
the balance and a decision has to made whether to save the unborn child or the
mother, who should make the call as to which one lives and which one dies? I do
not believe politicians are equipped to make that decision. It is a decision to
be made only by a woman, her husband, and her doctor. Spiritual counseling helps.
there is a starting point in this abortion debate, it would begin with the Texas
78th Legislature and a bill signed into law by Gov. Rick Perry. All
of this Pro-Life versus Pro-Abortion juxtaposing is nothing but a false
dichotomy created by the media for political entertainment. The real problem
arises, not between pro and con factions, but the wording of the law as it is
In the 2013 amendment SB 5, Sec. 171.061(9), the law defines an “Unborn child”
to mean “an offspring of human beings from
conception until birth.” Under the 2003 law, Sec. 171.061(4) defines the “Gestational
age” to mean “the amount of time that has elapsed since the first day of a woman’s last menstrual
period.” Sec. 171.016(a) speaks of “gestational increments” measured “from the time when a woman can be known to
be pregnant to full term.” Moreover, Sec. 171.041, which is cited as
“Preborn Pain Act”, in subsection (1), Post-fertilization age means “the age of the unborn child as calculated
from the fusion of a human spermatozoon with a human ovum.” In other words,
for the purpose of the law, pregnancy begins when the sperm fertilizes the
women do not know that they are pregnant after missing one menstrual cycle. Some
delay until after the second missed cycle. But by then she is legally pregnant,
which means that provisions and restrictions of the law kick in. The so-called morning-after
pill RU-486 then falls under the strict regulations of state law, though it is
approved for distribution by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
who believe that the life of an unborn child begins at the fertilization of an
egg are counting their chickens before they hatch. And, for those who believe
in the bible, they should know that life begins before biological conception. As
God told Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the belly, I knew you.” (Jeremiah
1:5). In other words, God knows each of us before we are born. However, we do
not become a “living soul” until God breaths into us the breath of life
(Genesis 2:7). If life is meant to be, God will make it happen. Otherwise, man
is in error if he thinks that he can will life into existence.
was just such case in Wendy Davis’ district which proved the fallacy of man’s
thinking that God’s will is for every conception to come to life. The case centered
on Erick Muñoz and his late wife Marlise, who died during the earliest stage of
her pregnancy. The man fought for the right to lay his wife to rest and have some
closure for his grief. But the Texas abortion law prevented it. Therefore, the
woman’s corpse was kept on life support for two agonizing months, while political
opportunists championed a misguided cause for a right-to-life for an embryo that
was still at the developmental stage of a tadpole. Why? Because the law defined
an unborn child at the point of conception, doctors were forbidden from
terminating the pregnancy.
Marlise Muñoz’s corpse decayed, the more deformed the fetus. Eventually, God
prevailed. But it would seem that under Sec. 171.002(3) and Sec. 171.0124(c) of
the law that the doctors could have terminated the pregnancy on the basis of
“medical emergency” provisions. But the punitive sanctions in the law would put
the doctors at risk of being charged with a misdemeanor under Sec. 171.018 and
fined $10,000 and possibly losing their license to practice medicine, insofar
as the Texas Medical Board was given the police power to enforce this law (Sec.
we have found that once a law is on the books, it is rarely abolished. Rather,
it is eroded over time by new amendments. Likewise, the Abortion of Law of
Texas has been changed quite a bit since its 2003 origin.
example: The law alludes to the victims of rape and incest, but makes no
exceptions to its strictures except under Sec. 171.046 (a) where the life and
health of the mother is jeopardized, and Sec. 171.046 (c) where an abortion can
be performed “on an unborn child who has a severe
law does not forbid any woman from getting an abortion, as long as it complies
with the aforementioned constrictions upon doctors. But the only specific
provision for victims of rape or incest is Sec. 171.012(2) (C), which says:
… (2) the physician who
performs the abortion or the physician’s agent informs the pregnant woman that:
(C) public and private agencies provide pregnancy prevention counseling and
medical referrals for obtaining pregnancy prevention medications or devices,
including emergency contraception for
victims of rape and incest.
need does a victim of rape and incest have for “emergency contraception”? To
insure that she does not get pregnant the next time she is violated?
list above is only a few of the flaws. Again: The severability clause in Sec.
171.048 provides that if any part of the law is found to be unconstitutional by
the federal court, all other portions of the law remains in effect. And if the
court “declines to impose the saving construction described by this subsection,
the Supreme Court of Texas shall provide
an authoritative construction of the objectionable statutory provisions that
avoids the constitutional problems while enforcing the statute's
restrictions to the maximum possible extent.” In other words, if any part of
the law is deemed unconstitutional by some lawsuit, the state of Texas will fix
the discrepancy itself, no thanks to any outside interference from the courts
and the federal government. Nothing changes in the intent of the law.
2003 law originally provided for the publication and distribution of
information “designed to inform the
pregnant woman of public and private agencies and services that “are available
to assist a woman through pregnancy, childbirth, and the child’s dependency”,
according to Sec. 171.015(1) (A). This indexed list would have included
agencies like Planned Parenthood which provided a full range of healthcare services
for poor women, including cancer screening, mammograms, and counseling, besides
making medical referrals for abortions. But the 2010 amendment narrowed the
list to only adoption agencies and excluded all agencies that made referrals
for abortion, no matter how medically necessary- See Sec. 171.015(1) (B-C). Moreover, in anticipation of future mass
closings of Planned Parenthood facilities, the law provided certain waivers for
expectant mothers who had to travel more than 100 miles to receive the same
medical services that they previously had been receiving at their neighborhood
Texas does not prohibit abortions as many outsiders think. Instead, it
concentrates abortion-related services into the hands of fewer medical
practices, in certain geographical areas of the state, and only for those who
can afford to travel back and forth over a great distances to receive it.
prayers go out Erick Muñoz for the healing of his family, now that he can
finally lay his wife to rest. Of course, it may be of little consequence the court ruling gave him no comfort, only
is tragedy enough to lose a wife and an unborn child. But this tragedy is
compounded by people like the Texas Alliance for Life in Austin who issued a statement saying it was saddened by the
judge’s order to take Marlise Muñoz off life support:
“The decision fails to recognize the interests of the unborn child,
who is a separate patient,” the statement said. “We believe the intent of the
legislature, as expressed numerous places in Texas law, is to protect the lives of unborn children to the greatest extent
There is something missing here between the ears called common sense. What
did they expect? Did they imagine that a female corpse, after 2 months into rigor mortis, to carry a 22-week old fetus
to term, while it is already in the process of mutating? Mr. Muñoz only
mentioned his heart sickness having to endure the stench of his wife’s rotting
flesh, while on hospital visits. As she mortifies, the fetus deteriorates. But
had the Texas Alliance for Life had its way, this could have gone on for seven more months.
forget that God made us, and not we ourselves (Psalms 100:3).
Who would overrule God to create life where there is no life? No matter our
fortunate journey from sperm to worm, until God breathes into us the breath of
life, we cannot become a living soul (Genesis 2:7). The
body is not the spirit, and without the spirit the body is dead. And the dead cannot
raise the living. And a dead womb cannot bring forth life.
Marlise Muñoz is decaying. In a short while, her remains will turn to dust and skeleton, and only her memory remains. Who, then, can raise the dust to life? Or bring life up out of the dust? Can a dead Egyptian mommy give birth simply because their embalmed bodies are preserved?
What is disturbing is those who
would preserve life do very little to support it. Otherwise, we would pave the
way for the next generation of healthy babies, and reduce the infant mortality
rate. Would these same people fight for life, with the same zeal as they fight
for the right to life? Would they fight for adequate health care and food, as
hard as they fight for a dead woman to give birth?
When Job cried out, “Or
why was I not as a hidden stillborn child, as infants who
never see the light? (Job 3:16)”, he makes
us realize that if it is the will of God, then a child is born. If not, the
unborn remains as an infant “who never saw the light”.
you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to visit me at my home on this
past Christmas Eve and bringing presents for my grandchildren. You were there for us
when the hope of Christmas was the most dismal, and the life of my unborn
grandchild hung in perils. You were the answer to our prayers. May the Lord
bless you, your family, and your team for answering the desperate cry for help from me and my family, and
moreover for your sweet and kind words of consolations to the destitute.
last of your gift cards went to buy my newborn granddaughter some baby formula.
Briana Russell was born on Tuesday,
January 14, 2014, a healthy child and blessed, thanks, in part, to a fairy godmother that
lifted a burden off an old man’s shoulders and saved
Christmas for her family, before she was born.
Praise to the Lord, for He is
good and His mercy endures forever.
I give thanks also to
the Everman Church of Christ family who also heard our cry and came to our rescue. It is hard on the eyes of an old man to see his grandchildren homeless, with another on the
way... stranded on the streets in the middle of an ice storm.
And, I shuttered at the thought of my daughter-in-law, eight months expectant,
trying to navigate on 4-inch thick ice, in soaked wet cold tennis shoes, trying to move their stuff from a rented motel room, after money ran out, in search of somewhere else to go. Had the mother slipped and fallen on the ice, we would have no doubt lost the baby.
are hard to come by, for a prideful old man. But when I see Baby Briana’s sweet and
innocent face, realizing she knows nothing of how she got here, I break down.
On the first Sunday of her life, the baby was in the church nursery, watched
over by her angel and a loving and caring saint, a Sunday teacher who
knew the weary young mother needed a surrogate for just a little
while to rest.
I remembered looking into the eyes of a worried 5-year sister-to-be, when times were bleakest, and grandpa promised her that everything was going to be alright, when there seemed to be no
way, no how. But blessed be the name of the Lord,
for he is wonderful and does marvelous things. Now grandpa has some peace and relief from his anxieties.
As a footnote: When
the picture above was taken of grandpa and the baby, I was talking to her, telling her about a fairy godmother named Wendy who saved her family’s Christmas just before she was
A Fort Worth man
who died in May after police shocked him with a Taser during a drug raid died
of natural causes, the Tarrant County medical examiner has ruled. The shock from
the Taser did not contribute to the death of 34-year-old Jermaine Darden, said
Linda Anderson, a spokeswoman for the Tarrant County medical examiner’s office…
examiner’s office ruled Darden’s cause of death as “sudden cardiac death” due
to heart disease and “application of restraint”…
“application of restraint” refers to Darden’s hands being handcuffed behind
him. She said, however, that forensic pathologists believe that being
handcuffed had no impact on Darden’s death and that he could have died of heart disease even if he’d not been
According to the
autopsy report, officers used the Taser on Darden twice — for five seconds each
time — after he failed to comply with instructions during the execution of the
A team of forensic
pathologists reviewed the case, including video
that showed Darden being stunned with the Taser and continuing to struggle.
COMMENTARY by Eddie Griffin
So they say: It was not the
taser that killed Jermaine Darden, and neither did the handcuff restraints
contribute to his death. He could have died of a heart attack on his own.
Therefore, the Fort Worth police officers were only incidental in his death. After a four months investigation, this is what they come up with.
If anyone believes this, they
are “hoodwinked”, as Malcolm X would say.
NO! We will not believe it. We need to see the
video tape, because there are discrepancies between the official reports and
the eyewitnesses accounts. Isn’t this the reason why Police Chief Jeff Halstead
purchased the taser video cameras, so there would be more transparency? Pictures don't lie. But
medical examiners have been known to concoct a fabricated cause of death. How
can the ME conclude that “maybe” Darden would have died on his own? "Maybe" is not a
medical conclusion for cause of death.
Maybe and maybe not, there is plenty of room between "maybes" for skepticism and cynicism. Another scenario could be this: Maybe Mr. Darden started
dying the minute he was tased. How long does it take for a person's heart to stop beating after
being electrocuted with 50,000 volts of electricity? Simply because it did not occur instantly like zip, even being struck by lightning, it takes time to expire. Sure, while he was complaining about not being
able to breathe, he was in fact in the process of dying. So goes maybes and their
They can say what they will,
however. But this we know from past experience. TASER International, the maker of the stun gun, has a history of suing
every medical examiner who attributes cause of death to their taser. And what is more intimidating is that they have
never lost a suit. Therefore, ME's are terrified to rule against the company,
and the company, in turn, rewards them with perks like lavish vacations disguised as medical conferences,
all expenses paid for by the TASER International.
To obscure the true cause of
death, ME’s created a lexicon of psychobabble, with terms like "death by excited delirium" and "in
custody death syndrome", and now "cardiac arrest by natural causes". We note that this ruling
comes only after learning that Darden was asthmatic with a heart
problem. Thus, they claim, in so many words, he would have died anyway. For all intent and purpose, they could have very well said it was Mr. Darden's time to die, and God simply called him on home.
Psychobabble may sound
medical to the ignorant. But it is an insult to our intelligence. We have been through this before. We discovered many years ago
medical examiners covering up the cause of death of inmates
in the state penitentiary, after prisoners who had been beaten to death by prison
guards. They used to rule death by natural causes after the victim's body was laid to rest. (Credit some local funeral directors for exposing these facts).
CORRESPONDENCE to the Chief of Police Jeff Halstead
from Eddie Griffin
April 22, 2009
Dear Chief Jeffrey
Thank you for coming out to the Minority
Leaders and Citizens Council Meeting. The pleasure of meeting you was mine. I
have attached the statement that I delivered to you, with regards to the tragic
tasering death of Michael Jacobs.
When all is said and done, the question
is: Did the officer do her job, according to law and according to policy?
Secondly, we must
not try to ascribe the cause of death to the victim. Michael Jacobs did not
cause his own death. Even if he were on his death bed, he still had a right to
life, and no one should take it away from him, without due process of law. To
say he died because of "excited delirium" would add insult to injury.
Thirdly, we must recognize that he died as
an innocent man, guilty of no crime, and that he died at the hands of the Fort
Worth Police Department. We cannot leave a vacuum in the assumption of responsibility.
To say that no one is responsible would be playing the
Fourthly, Taser International,
Inc., the maker of the device, issued specific product warnings
against Taser usage in cases where there might be a "Sudden
In-Custody Death Syndrome". These cases call for heightened
discretionary judgment in deployment, because the risk of death to the subject
is much higher.
Therefore, the death of Michael Jacobs
calls into focus the FWPD policy's alignment with the manufacturer's product
Are officers trained to recognize a "Sudden
In-Custody Death Syndrome" and how to avoid it?
As one of your officers admits, it's not
the use of tasers, but the abuse of tasers that kill people.
But who is accountable? Civil
damages, in whatever amount, can never compensate for the loss of life.
Let me point out again:
Tasers are deadly. If officers are trained to think that these devices are
non-lethal, this may be why so many officers deploy the instrument, without
fully weighing the consequences.
A Day of Blogging for Justice
has already been called by the AfroSpear
against the use and abuse of taser. Bloggers from around the world will be protesting
taser deaths of people like Michael Jacobs. Amnesty International will add
another number to the total death count, and we continue
to call for a moratorium. This movement is beyond anyone's control and
has a life of its own. Nevertheless, I am a co-signer and supporter.
At the very least, we should recognize
that tasers have caused too many deaths (351), that the Taser is a deadly weapon,
and should be reclassified as lethal force, and
used with the same appropriate caution and discretion, if used at all.
Justice Day, April 19, 2009,
The Taser, produced by Taser
International, Inc. (Nasdaq:TASR), is the latest toy put into the hands of law
enforcement to subdue resistive subjects during apprehension and arrest. But
the product manual for the device warns of its misusage.
for Law Enforcement from the Manufacturer
Applicable Laws. Carry
and use the TASER device in accordance with applicable federal, state, and
local laws as well as your law enforcement agency’s guidance—policies,
procedures, training, etc. Each TASER device discharge must be legally
Confusion. Handguns have been
confused with TASER devices. Learn about the differences in physical feel and
holstering characteristics between the TASER device and your handgun. This will
allow you to confirm device identity under stressful situations.
Target Areas. The preferred
target areas are the subject’s torso (center mass) or legs. Avoid intentionally
aiming a TASER device at the head or face without justification.
Areas. Significant injury can
occur from TASER device deployment into sensitive areas of the body such as the
eyes, throat, or genitals—avoid intentionally targeting these areas without
Pre-Existing Injury Areas. When
practical, avoid deploying a TASER device at a known location of pre-existing
injury (e.g., avoid targeting the back for persons with known pre-existing back
injuries, avoid targeting the chest area on persons
with a known history of previous heart attacks, etc.). These injuries
may be provoked by such deployment.
Can Ignite Explosive Materials, Liquids, or Vapors. These include gasoline, other flammables, explosive
materials, liquids, or vapors (e.g., gases found in sewer lines,
methamphetamine labs, and butane-type lighters). Some self-defense sprays use
flammable carriers such as alcohol and could be dangerous to use in immediate
conjunction with TASER devices.
Restrain Immediately. Begin
control and restraint procedures as soon as it is reasonably safe to do so in
order to minimize the total duration of exertion and stress experienced by the
In-Custody Death Syndrome Awareness. If a subject is exhibiting signs or behaviors that are
associated with Sudden In-Custody Death Syndrome, consider combining use of a
TASER device with immediate physical restraint techniques and medical
assistance. Signs of Sudden In-Custody Death Syndrome include: extreme
agitation, bizarre behavior, inappropriate nudity, imperviousness to pain,
paranoia, exhaustive exertion, “superhuman” strength, hallucinations, sweating
Exposure Risks. When
practical, avoid prolonged or continuous exposure(s) to the TASER device's
electrical discharge. In some
circumstances, in susceptible people, it is conceivable that the stress and
exertion of extensive repeated, prolonged, or continuous application(s) of the
TASER device may contribute to cumulative exhaustion, stress, and associated
to TASER exposure, conditions such as excited delirium, severe exhaustion, drug
intoxication or chronic drug abuse, and/or over-exertion from physical struggle
may result in serious injury or death.
or repeated TASER device exposures should be avoided where practical. Although
existing studies on conscious human volunteers indicate subjects continue to
breathe during extended TASER device applications, it is conceivable that the
muscle contractions may impair a subject's ability to breathe. Accordingly, it
is advisable to use expedient physical restraint in conjunction with the TASER
device to minimize the overall duration of stress, exertion, and potential
breathing impairment particularly on individuals exhibiting symptoms of excited
delirium and/or exhaustion. However, it
should be noted that certain subjects in a state of excited delirium may
exhibit superhuman strength and despite efforts for expedient restraint, these
subjects sometimes cannot be restrained without a significant and profound
Loss. If a TASER probe becomes
embedded in an eye, it could result in permanent loss of vision.
Seizure Risks. Repetitive stimuli such as flashing lights or
electrical stimuli can induce seizures in some individuals. This risk is
heightened if electrical stimuli or current passes through the head region.
Contraction-Related Risks. The TASER device can cause strong muscle contractions that may
result in physical exertion or athletic-type injuries. In certain instances
this may be serious for some people, such as those with pre-existing conditions
and/or special susceptibilities. This may
also occur in instances Sudden in-custody death results from a complex set of
physiological and psychological conditions characterized by irrational
behavior, extreme exertion, and potentially fatal
changes in blood chemistry.
TASER-induced strong muscle contractions usually render a subject temporarily
unable to control his or her psychomotor movements. This may result in
secondary injuries such as those due to falls. This loss of control, or
inability to catch oneself, can in special circumstances increase the risk(s)
of serious injury or death. Persons who
are physically infirm or pregnant are among those who may be at higher risk.
Strain Injury Risks. It is possible that the injury types may include, but
are not limited to, strain-type injuries such as hernias, ruptures,
dislocations, tears, or other injuries to soft tissue, organs, muscles,
tendons, ligaments, nerves, and joints. Fractures to bones, including
vertebrae, may occur. These injuries may be more likely
to occur in people with pre-existing injuries or conditions such as
pregnancy, osteoporosis, osteopenia, spinal injuries, diverticulitis, or in
persons having previous muscle, disc, ligament, joint, or tendon damage.
Laser Beam Eye
Damage. The TASER device
incorporates a laser aiming aid. Laser beams can cause eye damage. Avoid
intentionally aiming at the eye(s) of a person or animal.