The Emmaus/RISSE (probable) arson

“The need in Albany is clear: Refugee families need long-term mentoring and education as they build new lives after experiences of trauma, dislocation, and relocation.”

risseIt’s human nature, I suppose, to be more strongly affected by tragedies that are close to home. I’m a former United Methodist, and I know the building at 240 West Lawrence Street in Albany, which was once a parsonage for the Emmaus United Methodist Church; I once helped the pastor move in one July 4. I’ve attended the church occasionally at Emmaus, and knew a subsequent pastor rather well, including attending her first service at the church, also, ss it turns out, on an Independence Day.

The first bit of news I read this week was this from AlbanySNN, the school notification site:

The after-school tutoring program at Emmaus United Methodist Church on Morris Street is cancelled until further notice due to a Tuesday morning fire at the program’s nearby administrative offices.
Continue reading “The Emmaus/RISSE (probable) arson”

The Kitty Genovese narrative largely debunked

Read the New Yorker article about the 1964 Kitty Genovese murder, and you will recognize that the New York Times story of the time had done a grand disservice to our views of the cities, especially NYC.

kitty_genoveseIf you were old enough – and I was – the name of Kitty Genovese was a name you knew. Not just that she was a murder victim in Queens, NYC, stabbed to death on March 13, 1964, “one of six hundred and thirty-six murders in New York City that year,” but that the apparent indifference to her plight by over three dozen “witnesses” spoke volumes about the apathetic nature of a segment of American life:

…the gist of the [New York Times] piece lent itself perfectly to Sunday sermons about a malaise encompassing all of us. Continue reading “The Kitty Genovese narrative largely debunked”

Florida: race, murder, self-defense

“The most damning element here is not that George Zimmerman was found not guilty: it’s the bitter knowledge that Trayvon Martin was found guilty.”

After George Zimmerman’s acquittal in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin death in Florida, the New York Daily News did a piece When will it end? Deadly racial targeting of black men and teens is hardly ancient history.

So I find it difficult to look at the case as a singular event but in the context of a social pattern. Black-on-black murder doesn’t make headlines, unless it hits an epic proportion, as it has in Chicago recently. Black-on-white murders statistically draw tougher sentences. So there is always uneasiness when a white-on-black killing takes place. Continue reading “Florida: race, murder, self-defense”

Not wanting to know the criminals’ names?

There’s a contingent out there who seem to relish the blow-by-blow of crimes, many of which I don’t know how they became national news.

I’ve noticed, particularly on Facebook, that after some particularly grievous, horrific crime – the Boston Marathon bombing, the Sandy Hook, CT elementary school shootings, the Aurora, CO movie theater shootings – there is this contingent of folks who argue that we ought not mention the names of the accused, but should instead focus solely on the victims. It’s as though by not saying the names of the perpetrators, or alleged ones, it would deny them the fame they presumably wanted; this phenomenon exists even when the presumed criminal is already dead Continue reading “Not wanting to know the criminals’ names?”

The FBI is sending me money!

This sounds pretty authentic. Odd numbering, bad punctuation, and everything.

Like too many of us, I get a lot of junk e-mail. Fortunately, most of it goes into my spam folder. A recent one came from the “Anti-Terrorist And Monetary Crimes Division” of the FBI, but signed by Mr. Robert Mueller, the director, informing me that they have “have completed an investigation on an International Payment in which was issued to you by an International Lottery Company. With the help of our newly developed technology (International Monitoring Network System)” – WOW! – “we discovered that your e-mail address was automatically selected by an Online Balloting System, this has legally won you the sum of $2.4million USD from a Lottery Company outside the United States of America.”

Yay, I’m practically rich!
Continue reading “The FBI is sending me money!”