June 30, 2014

An Ordinary Hero: The True Story of Joan Trumpauer Mulholland

Joan Trumpauer Mulholland (2013)

'An Ordinary Hero' is the story of Joan Trumpauer Mulholland, a little known Civil Rights worker who did the extraordinary.

As a 19 year old college student in 1961, Joan had already participated in nearly three dozen protests and sit-ins when she was arrested for participating in the Freedom Rides. After spending two months at the infamous Parchman Penitentiary on death row she transferred from Duke University to historically black Tougaloo Southern Christian College because she felt integration should be a two way street. She became one of the first white woman to join the Delta Sigma Theta sorority.

June 25, 2014

Rest In Peace: Michael Jackson (1958-2009)

Hold Me
Like The River Jordan
And I Will Then Say To Thee
You Are My Friend

Carry Me
Like You Are My Brother
Love Me Like A Mother
Will You Be There?

Tell Me Will You Hold Me
When Wrong, Will You Skold Me
When Lost Will You Find Me?

But They Told Me
A Man Should Be Faithful
And Walk When Not Able
And Fight Till The End
But I'm Only Human

Everyone's Taking Control Of Me
Seems That The World's
Got A Role For Me
I'm So Confused
Will You Show To Me
You'll Be There For Me
And Care Enough To Bear Me

In Our Darkest Hour
In My Deepest Despair
Will You Still Care?
Will You Be There?
In My Trials
And My Tripulations
Through Our Doubts
And Frustrations
In My Violence
In My Turbulence
Through My Fear
And My Confessions
In My Anguish And My Pain
Through My Joy And My Sorrow
In The Promise Of Another Tomorrow
I'll Never Let You Part
For You're Always In My Heart.

What is your favorite memory of Michael Jackson?

June 16, 2014

Use of Force Continuum

Originally posted in Feb 2008.

We have talked about the more frequent use of tasers by police on citizens of all genders, races and ages. Tasers have been used on hearing-impaired and pregnant people in recent months. Many of us feel that the taser is used too quickly. It turns out that the police have a very specific process that they follow. It is called the 'use of force continuum'.

There may be local variations, however, a police test guru indicates that the force continuum is broken down into six broad levels. Each level is designed to be flexible as the need for force changes depending on the situation. The six levels are:
  1. Level One * Officer Presence - The mere presence of a police officer in uniform or in a marked police unit is often enough to stop a crime in progress or prevent most situations from escalating. Without saying a word, the mere presence of a police officer can deter crime by the simple use of body language and gestures. At this level gestures should be non-threatening and professional. This "zero" level of force is always the best way to resolve any situation if possible.
  2. Level Two * Verbal Commands - Used in combination with a visible presence, the use of the voice can usually achieve the desired results. Whether you instruct a person to, "Stop.", "Don't Move.", "Be quiet.", "Listen to me.", "Let me see your ID.", or, "You're under arrest."-- voice commands in conjunction with your mere presence will almost always resolve the situation. The content of the message is as important as the officer's demeanor. It’s always best to start out calm but firm and non-threatening. The choice of words and intensity can be increased as necessary, or used in short commands in more serious situations. The right combination of words in combination with officer presence can de-escalate a tense situation and prevent the need for a physical altercation. Training and experience improves the ability of a police officer to communicate effectively with everyone she comes in contact with.
  3. Level Three * Empty Hand Control - Certain situations will arise where words alone will not reduce the aggression. This is the time police officers will need to get involved physically. This is a level of control employed by police officers minus the aid of equipment or weapons. There are two subcategories called, “soft empty hand techniques” and “hard empty hand techniques.” Soft Empty Hand Techniques: At this level minimal force would involve the use of bare hands to guide, hold, and restrain -- applying pressure points, and take down techniques that have a minimal chance of injury. Hard Empty Hand Techniques: At this level the use of force includes kicks, punches or other striking techniques such as the brachial stun or other strikes to key motor points that have a moderate chance of injury.
  4. Level Four * Pepper Spray, Baton, Taser - When the suspect is violent or threatening, more extreme, but non-deadly measures must be used to bring the suspect under control, or affect an arrest. Before moving to this level of force, it is assumed that less physical measures have been tried and deemed inappropriate. Pepper spray results in considerable tearing of the eyes, as well as temporary paralysis of the larynx, which causes subjects to lose their breath. Contact with the face causes a strong burning sensation. Pepper spray, once thought an effective street tool for police officers has lost popularity over the years because of its ineffectiveness, especially on intoxicated persons. The typical baton is a round stick of various lengths, and is made of hardwood, aluminum or plastic composite materials. A blow with a baton can immobilize a combative person, allowing officers to affect an arrest. Common impact weapon used by police today include the PR-24 and collapsible baton. The Taser discharges a high voltage spark (50,000 volts) at very low amperage. The Taser fires two small darts, connected to wires, which drops a suspect at non-contact distance. These devices are easily carried. They are lightweight and affordable. Extensive training is not required, and they may be more effective on persons under the influence of PCP and other drugs who do not respond to chemical irritants. They can be especially useful for controlling non-criminal violent behavior, such as persons who are mentally impaired, or under the influence of mind-altering substances.
  5. Level Five * Less Lethal - This is a newer, acceptable and effective level of force that numerous police agencies have added to their use of force continuum policy and procedure. Less-lethal weapons were developed to provide law enforcement, military and corrections personnel with an alternative to lethal force. They were designed to temporarily incapacitate, confuse, delay, or restrain an adversary in a variety of situations. They have been used in riots, prison disturbances, and hostage rescues. Less-lethal weapons are valuable when: Lethal force is not appropriate. Lethal force is justified and available for backup but lesser force may subdue the aggressor. Lethal force is justified but its use could cause collateral effects, such as injury to bystanders or life-threatening damage to property and environment.
  6. Level Six * Deadly Force - If a police peace officer has probable cause to believe that a suspect poses a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others then the use of deadly force is justified (see Tennessee v. Garner). By the very nature of the profession, peace officers may at times be confronted with a potentially lethal threat. In most of these instances, peace officers will have no other option but to discharge their firearm in order to protect their life or, the life of others.
The use of force is an integral part of a police officer's job, particularly when arresting criminal suspects. No one disputes that police should be permitted to protect themselves and others from threats to safety. What many of us think is wrong ... is that it doesn't appear that police officers are getting to Level Four and pulling out that taser gun much quicker than necessary. As a result, people are dying (Level Six) when it isn't warranted.

Anyhow, a number of AfroSpear bloggers have been talking about taking some type of action to combat the increasing frequency with which tasers are being used in the Black community. I thought it worthwhile to document the Use of Force Continuum that governs taser use by most police officers. What say u?

June 15, 2014

Father's Day is Every Day

Me, My Children and My Mom
I'm the father of three beautiful children. I've done my best ... but, Lord knows that I'm work in progress as a father. I created a Pinterest board called, 'Fatherhood Favorites'. Here are some of the things that I've learned over the years ... my personal 'call to action'!
  1. Be a Father of Prayer. Your prayers help give direction to your children's lives. Prayer with your family is the greatest gift you can leave your children.
  2. Be a Role Model to Your Children. You are being watched and studied by your children. Sons want to be just like their dad. Daughters want to marry a man just like their dad.
  3. Be a Teacher. Dads don't the teaching to Moms. Be alert for every day examples you can use to teach your children the lessons of life. Check out Ephisians 6:4 for the source of this one.
  4. Communicate to Your Children On All Levels, Not Just Correction. Talk to your children about everything. Be interested in their views, issues and ideas. If you do this when they are young, dialogue won't be so difficult when they are older.
  5. Discipline and Correct With a Gentle Spirit. When you discipline your children be calm but firm. Proverbs 3:12 tells us, 'For whom the Lord loves He corrects, Just as a father the son in whom he delights.'
  6. Get Involved in the Lives of Your Children. Work with them on science projects, homework and other school activities. Pray together -- OFTEN!
  7. My Dad and Me
  8. Give Your Approval. Matthew 3:17 tells us, "And lo a voice from heaven, saying , This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." Fathers need to make sure that we acknowledge the accomplishments of our children. We must let them know that we are proud (and well pleased) of them.
  9. Realize a Father's Work is Never Done. Hey Papa-Bear, your support will always play a vital role in your child's life ... no matter how old they are. Long after homework, ball games, and recitals are over, your children will still need your LOVE, support, guidance and encouragement.
  10. Respect Your Children's Mother. As it says in Proverbs 31:28, "Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her."
  11. Show Affection. As a child grows, so does his or her need for acceptance and a sense of belonging. Give a word of encouragement. Take every opportunity to say, 'I LOVE YOU'.
  12. Spend Time With Your Children. Children realize they are valuable to their father when he is thoughtful and concerned about them as he is about his other interests.
Father's Day is Every Day!

June 4, 2014

Black Couple Use Motorcycle Ride to Raise Money for STEM Education

Michael Wulf is a longtime BDPA member currently serving as vice president of BDPA Midwest region. He received the President’s Volunteer Service Award in both 2012 and 2013, acknowledging his tireless work with the Student Information Technology Education & Scholarship (SITES) program hosted by the BDPA Twin Cities chapter.

Michael & Elizabeth Wulf
Michael found a new and unique way to raise money for the SITES program that is offered free-of-charge by BDPA volunteers. He and his wife Elizabeth plan to ride their motorcycles around the perimeter of the United States to raise needed funds to jump-start the creation of an academy that will run on a hosted online course management system. The 'Ride-4-Charity' fundraiser takes place from June 8-18, 2014. Michael and Elizabeth will ride over 7000 miles, across 26 states, during those 10 days.

Funds are being collected by the BDPA Education and Technology Foundation. Donations go directly towards the creation of an online course room that will be used for software, infrastructure and ongoing support. Online course rooms will be deployed across the United States taking free volunteer-led technical training out to communities and community centers where they can benefit most.

BDPA has the volunteer base and passion to serve future IT professionals and leaders. Their motto is 'from the Classroom to the Boardroom'. Volunteers will collaborate with students and guide them through training they normally would not get. This 'facilitated' style of training creates the confidence needed by students as they consider post-secondary education and careers in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM). BDPA and the Wulf family want kids in the United States to be the inventors, creators or innovators and not just consumers.

To find out more or support this cause, please check out www.Ride4Charity.org or Facebook: Ride4Charity.
Enhanced by Zemanta