Having a Wonderful Adventure from Somewhere on the Road

September 7, 2014

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Good morning:

Crane-Station and I were hacked rendering our computers inoperable. Our place was burglarized, our property vandalized and stolen. Our bank account was breached and money stolen.

Our lives were threatened.

We left Kentucky in a hurry to avoid a worse fate.

This problem began when someone burglarized our home and obtained the access code to our AT&T router, which wasn’t difficult to do since it was printed on the side.

Our apartment was trashed.

Then both of our computers were hacked. Our administrator privileges were usurped, our passwords were altered, and we could no longer log-in to our computers.

I was able to reset and restore my computer to the state it was in when I purchased it, but Crane ended up in the same place unable to log-in after she reset hers.

My computer now appears to be operating normally with assistance from HP Tech Support.

Looks like we offended some people.


Accused killer of Deputy Darren Goforth has history of serious mental illness

September 1, 2015

Shannon J. Miles, 30, has been accused of killing Harris County Deputy Sheriff Darren Goforth. Yesterday morning a judge reviewed the district attorney’s charging documents and found probable cause to believe that Mr. Miles committed the murder. The judge also denied bail which means Mr. Miles will continue to be held while the district attorney seeks a capital murder indictment from a grand jury. A capital murder charge means that Mr. Miles could potentially be sentenced to death if he is found guilty.

The Houston Chronicle is reporting today,

In 2012, the Travis County District Attorney’s Office charged Miles with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after he got into a fight at a homeless shelter over a remote control, prosecutor Joe Frederick said. Miles was found to be mentally incompetent in October 2012 and he was sent to North Texas State Hospital in Vernon, Texas.

“From this case, you could never tell what would happen” in the future, Frederick said, adding that prosecutors treated the case as a “very serious offense” and had offered Miles a plea agreement of seven years in prison. Miles was declared mentally competent in February 2013, but the charge was dropped after the victim could not be located, Frederick said.

A person has to be legally competent in order to stand trial. The legal test for competency is whether a person understands what crime(s) he is charged with and the potential consequences he faces if convicted. He also must be able to communicate with his lawyer and assist him to prepare a defense. To be adjudicated incompetent to stand trial, a person must be so delusional and confused that he cannot distinguish between reality and illusion. In most cases an incompetent defendant can be restored to competency by administering anti-psychotic medication. We saw that happen with Jared Laughner (who shot and killed U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and a federal judge at a meet-and-greet in Tucson, AZ) and James Holmes (who killed 12 and wounded 70 people at a movie theater in Aurora, CO). Laughner avoided a potential death penalty by pleading guilty and was sentenced to LWOP. Holmes was sentenced to LWOP by a jury after it rejected his insanity defense and convicted him of the 12 murders. The LWOP sentences in both cases reflect a reluctance to impose the death penalty on mentally ill defendants because, but for the mental illness that they did not choose to have, they would not have killed anyone.

I think it’s significant that Mr. Miles was adjudicated incompetent in 2012 and involuntarily committed to a mental hospital where it took four months to restore his competency. That suggests that Mr. Miles has a persistent, serious and probably incurable mental illness that requires a daily dose of an anti-psychotic drug to prevent psychotic breaks.

From the article in the Houston Chronicle:

Jon Evans, Miles’ attorney in the Austin case, said medical privacy laws prevent him from offering any details about Miles’ mental illness history. But he was told by Miles’ mother that her son had a lifelong history of mental illness.

In yesterday’s piece, I criticized Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman for blaming the Black Lives Matter movement for the murder of Deputy Sheriff Darren Goforth. I am calling him out again today because his accusation was not based on any evidence. I rely on the statement by the Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson:

Anderson would not comment on a motive, saying investigators were still trying to figure that out. When asked if it might be connected to heightened tensions around the country between law enforcement and civilians, Anderson said: “I have no idea whether it does or not.”

Other Readings:

Black Lives Matter did not kill Deputy Sheriff Darren Goforth

Time to end death penalty prosecutions of the mentally ill

Jury sentences James Holmes to Life Without Parole


Black Lives Matter did not kill Deputy Sheriff Darren Goforth

August 31, 2015

I write today to criticize Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman for blaming the Black Lives Matter movement for the murder of Deputy Sheriff Darren Goforth, who was shot in the back on Friday evening at a gas station in a Houston suburb as he was fueling his patrol vehicle. The person who shot Goforth then approached and shot him multiple times as he lay on the ground. Sheriff Hickman has identified the shooter as 30-year-old Shannon Miles. According to Reuters,

Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman has linked the shooting to anti-police rhetoric following protests against deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of white officers around the country. Goforth was white and the suspect is black.

Hickman said the department assumed Goforth was a target because he wore a uniform.

“We’ve heard black lives matter; all lives matter. Well cops’ lives matter too,” Hickman said. “At any point where the rhetoric ramps up to the point where calculated cold-blooded assassination of police officers happen(s), this rhetoric has gotten out of control.”

(Emphasis supplied)

Mr. Miles has been charged with capital murder, which means he could be sentenced to death if a jury finds him guilty and decides to sentence him to death.

Sheriff Hickman should know that it’s never appropriate for a police official to speculate regarding a suspect’s motive in any criminal case, especially a capital case. If asked, it’s better to say you don’t know or you don’t want to speculate.

Sheriff Hickman and all other police officers in this country need to understand that the Black Lives Matter movement (BLM) did not murder the deputy. As far as we know, Mr. Miles is not connected to BLM and there is no evidence that BLM knew who the deputy was or that it hired or encouraged Mr. Miles or anyone else to commit an act of violence, much less kill anyone.

Let’s set the record straight once and for all:

  1. BLM would not exist but for the epidemic of police killing unarmed black males.
  2. According to the Washington Post, which is keeping track of police shootings this year, police killed 385 people in the first five months of the year.
  3.   49 people were unarmed. 13 others had toy guns (total = 62). In all, 16% were either carrying a toy or were unarmed.
  4. Two-thirds of the unarmed victims were Black or Latino.
  5.  Overall, blacks were killed at three times the rate of whites or other minorities when adjusting by the population of the census tracts where the shootings occurred.
  6. If the sheriff were Black, especially if he had a son between the ages of 15 and 30, he would have to be deaf, blind and dumb or just plain stupid not to be concerned about the epidemic of police killing unarmed Black males.
  7. BLM engages in peaceful non-violent protest that it has a right to do pursuant to the Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Assembly clauses of the First Amendment.
  8. Therefore, BLM is a legitimate movement with legitimate concerns that need to be addressed in a peaceful manner.
  9. If someone wants to play the blame game, the logical place to start is with the police who killed and continue to kill unarmed people.
  10. Killing unarmed people needs to stop.*

Capiche

_________________________________

*We also need to be concerned about police killing the mentally ill because, according to the Washington Post, about one-third of the of the shooting victims were mentally ill. Some were armed and some were not. Many who were armed were not armed with guns and many who died appear to have committed suicide by cop.

 

 


Jamycheal Mitchell, 24, died alone and afraid in jail: Someone needs to pay

August 30, 2015

In case you believe you may have lost your capacity to feel outraged, check out this story in the Chicago Tribune,

As thefts go, this was about as petty as it gets: a Snickers bar, a 2-liter Mountain Dew and a Zebra cake worth about $5 total.

But a 24-year-old Portsmouth [Virginia] man died in jail while awaiting trial on the charges.

Jamycheal Mitchell, who had a history of mental illness, was found dead in his cell at the Hampton Roads Regional Jail early on Aug. 19, four months after being arrested and charged with petty larceny and trespassing at a 7-Eleven.

Still to be determined is how he died, why he was jailed for so long on such charges and who represented him during his months in jail. His next scheduled hearing date was Sept. 4.

Master Jail Officer Natasha Perry said Mitchell’s death appears to be from natural causes. Donna Price, spokeswoman for the state Medical Examiner’s Office, said its investigations typically take between 12 and 18 weeks.

Mr. Mitchell was incompetent to stand trial and the case should have been dismissed. Here’s the Trib article again,

A forensic psychologist evaluated Mitchell to determine whether he was competent to stand trial. The psychologist said Mitchell was “manic and psychotic” during the interview. “Mr. Mitchell’s thought processes were so confused that only snippets of his sentences could be understood, the rest were mumbled statements that made no rational sense,” wrote Evan Nelson.

Mitchell twirled around the visitation cell, rapped, spit on the floor and exposed himself, Nelson wrote.

Another court document for a mental health evaluation dated 2010 described Mitchell as “acutely psychotic.” Later that year, an evaluator wrote to the court that Mitchell was “unrestorably incompetent to stand trial” on a charge of petty larceny and recommended the case be dismissed, with continuing outpatient treatment.

Mr. Mitchell may have starved to death, according to relatives. His aunt, Roxanne Adams, who is a registered nurse, told The Guardian, which broke the story,

Adams said medics at the jail told her Mitchell refused to take medication for his conditions. Before his arrest her nephew was on prescriptions for the antipsychotic drugs Prolixin and Zyprexin, and the mood stabiliser Depakote, according to Adams. She said prison officials then prescribed him the antipsychotic drug Haldol and Cogentin, which is intended to reduce the side-effects of the other medication, but he refused to take the drugs.

[Little wonder since Haldol is an older generation drug rarely given anymore because it turns people into zombies with severe muscle spasms and a thousand-mile stare. Jails give it because it’s cheaper.]

Adams said prison officials said her nephew had also been declining to eat. She said she saw Mitchell in court in recent weeks and estimated that he had lost 65 pounds since being detained. “He was extremely emaciated,” said Adams.

The aunt said relatives had not been able to visit Mitchell because he had not given jail officials their names as approved visitors. “His mind was gone because he wasn’t taking his meds, so he didn’t have a list for anyone to see him,” she said.

Mr. Mitchell was being held in solitary confinement because that’s what jails do with the mentally ill. If the jail staff did not kill him by withholding food, he may have starved himself to death by refusing to eat or drink. The jail cannot escape responsibility for his death, if he starved himself to death, because they should have realized what was happening and transported him to a medical hospital long before he died.. Apparently, they did not give damn. Unfortunately, that too is typical of how jails treat the mentally ill.

The prosecution and the court also bear moral responsibility for his death because he was permitted, if not encouraged, to sign a waiver of his right to counsel while he was incompetent and unable to understand what he was doing. Neither can be sued because both have absolute immunity from liability for what they do, according to the United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS).

Although a public defender was eventually appointed to represent him, the lawyer was on vacation when he died. Because I do not know when, or even if, his lawyer knew that she had been appointed to represent him, I cannot determine whether she bears any responsibility for his death.

On May 21st, a judge found him incompetent to stand trial and ordered him transferred to a state mental hospital. Unfortunately, the transfer never happened. The jail claims that they were told that no bed was available at the hospital. The hospital isn’t talking. The lawyer is on vacation.

In short, everyone is pointing the finger at everyone else or refusing to talk.

Res ipsa loquitur. The thing speaks for itself. Due to gross negligence while in state custody, Jamycheal Mitchell is dead. He died alone and afraid.

This is how we treat the mentally ill in this country.
___________________________________________________________________

Possible side effects for Haldol

Possible side effects for Cogentin


Psychology is a questionnable science

August 29, 2015

Science is a process that begins with observation that leads to the formulation of a theory that is tested experimentally. Even if the result confirms the theory, there is another critically step that must be completed before the theory can be validated. The result must be independently reproduced. Reproducibility is a foundation of science. If an experimental result cannot be reproduced by an independent lab, the theory is unreliable and cannot be accepted as part of scientific knowledge.

Peer review is the process by which scientists review and evaluate the work of other scientists that is published in professional scientific journals.

A recent study published in the professional journal, Science, concluded that only 36% of 100 experimental results published in the top three professional journals in the field of Psychology could be independently reproduced. This result means that much of what psychologists assume to be true is not reliable.

In the Abstract of a research article titled, Estimating the Reproducibility of Psychological Science, the authors conclude,

No single indicator sufficiently describes replication success, and the five indicators examined here are not the only ways to evaluate reproducibility. Nonetheless, collectively these results offer a clear conclusion: A large portion of replications produced weaker evidence for the original findings despite using materials provided by the original authors, review in advance for methodological fidelity, and high statistical power to detect the original effect sizes. Moreover, correlational evidence is consistent with the conclusion that variation in the strength of initial evidence (such as original P value) was more predictive of replication success than variation in the characteristics of the teams conducting the research (such as experience and expertise). The latter factors certainly can influence replication success, but they did not appear to do so here.

Reproducibility is not well understood because the incentives for individual scientists prioritize novelty over replication. Innovation is the engine of discovery and is vital for a productive, effective scientific enterprise. However, innovative ideas become old news fast. Journal reviewers and editors may dismiss a new test of a published idea as unoriginal. The claim that “we already know this” belies the uncertainty of scientific evidence. Innovation points out paths that are possible; replication points out paths that are likely; progress relies on both. Replication can increase certainty when findings are reproduced and promote innovation when they are not. This project provides accumulating evidence for many findings in psychological research and suggests that there is still more work to do to verify whether we know what we think we know.

The American Psychological Assocoation (APA) is already under fire for its continuing support of the use of torture enhanced interrogation techniques, even though the organization and the war criminals people who use these techniques have never been able to show that they have produced accurate information not already known. The results of this study cast further doubt on whether Psychology is a science or junk science.

There has been a lot of talk this year about the need to reform the criminal justice system. No doubt we will hear a lot more talk about the subject in the run-up to the election next year. Most of the discussion has focused on releasing nonviolent offenders from our overcrowded prisons. I agree that we should do that and I have also proposed that we officially end the failed War on Drugs and decriminalize the use and possession of all drugs, including heroin and cocaine, by following the successful model established by Portugal.

Based on my extensive experience as a criminal defense attorney specializing in death-penalty defense and forensics, I can assure my readers that we also have to tighten the foundational requirements for expert witnesses in Evidence Rule 702, as it relates to self-described mental health experts, particularly psychologists. One especially troublesome area is the prediction of future violence. Despite the absence of any evidence that a psychologist can more accurately predict whether a particular individual will commit a future act of violence compared to merely flipping a coin, prosecutors in death cases still put on their whore psychologist who predicts the defendant will commit future acts of violence. Jurors, who don’t know any better, respond with death verdicts. This crap needs to stop.

I will leave for another time a discussion about the woeful state of forensic laboratory work. Indeed, forensic fraud is one of the major causes of wrongful convictions. Just to provide a quick for example, Kentucky crime lab ‘experts’ still testify that a hair found on a victim’s body at a crime scene ‘matches’ a defendant’s known hair. The so-called match is based on a visual hair comparison using a stereoscopic microscope. They do this even though we have known for 20 years that the most can say about a visual hair comparison is that two hairs were contributed by two belonging to the same race. Further differentiation is impossible unless a nuclear DNA test (assuming a root is attached) or mitochondrial DNA (assuming a follicle with no root) is performed. Because the visual appearance of a hair differs substantially depending on what part of the hair is examined under the microscope. it’s impossible for an examiner to accurately conclude, unless he makes a lucky guess, that two segments of one hair follicle came from the same individual (assuming he does not know that the hair follicle was cut into two lengths).


Disgusted and Infuriated with MSNBC

August 28, 2015

I am disgusted and infuriated with MSNBC. Andrew Lack, Chairman of the NBC News Group, has pulled the plug on Reverend Al Sharpton’s daily show as part of his strategy to make the network even more bland and boring than it is reduce MSNBC’s left-leaning programming during the daytime hours in favor of more straight news shows. His last show will be September 4th. He hasn’t been completely cut-off.  Beginning Oct. 4th, his “Politics Nation” will air at 8 a.m. Sundays.

This decision follows the network’s decision to terminate the Ed Schultz Show. His last show was July 31st.

I don’t know what else to say.


Public Health Hospital and Charity Hospital New Orleans Internship of 1958

August 27, 2015

by Crane-Station

Many thanks to a reader who commented on a post yesterday, for bringing our attention to the grand opening of a new hospital in New Orleans, that will replace Charity Hospital. For those interested in a small first-hand account from back in the day, this post is a true story of internship at the Public Health Hospital and at Charity Hospital in New Orleans in 1958, as told by Ray Owings, MD, age 92, and his wife Letty, age 90. Raymond H Owings MD is listed in the Charity Hospital Administrative Board report on Charity Hospital Louisiana at New Orleans here, as an intern at Charity, September-October, 1958.

Charity Hospital in New Orleans was specifically founded by grant in 1736 to serve the indigent population in New Orleans, and it was a teaching hospital affiliated with the LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans (LSUHSC-NO) for more than 250 years until its close after Hurricane Katrina. The hospital was notable for being the second largest hospital in America in 1939 with 2680 beds and it has been featured in a TLC series called Code Blue, which was a documentary series featuring the ER that was one of the busiest in America. Here is one video from that series, titled, “Kernisha:”

Public Health Hospital and Charity Hospital New Orleans Internship of 1958

Letty relates:

The first thing Ray said to me was, “Maybe you shouldn’t have come down here.” Ray was never, ever able to come home and the place was just a madhouse. It was a weird, weird, weird year. Everything was crooked in the politics, and we had the likes of Earl Long getting out of his car and peeing by the side of the road. It was just bizarre. Somebody shot Huey Long right there in the Capitol because you had to get dramatic in New Orleans. Earl, at thirty-six, called Huey “the yellowest physical coward that God had ever let live.” Huey Long said of Earl: “Earl is my brother but he’s crooked. If you live long enough he’ll double cross you.”

We had the shrimp people who paid for their baby delivery in shrimp because they thought the doctor ought to get a little something for his services and they were very grateful, so they brought shrimp. There just weren’t enough people to man the place, so I was home with the kids a lot and the first thing I did was slip and fall on some concrete slabs because everything was so wet your shoes turned green. It was truly a bizarre year but for all of its utter craziness, New Orleans had such a haunting and deep beauty about it. The weeping trees were gorgeous, and the flowers were so pungent it was like putting your face into a jar of perfume. We had four small children at the time.

Ray relates:

During the internship at Public Health Hospital in New Orleans that year, the interns could go to Charity Hospital right near the Mississippi River as well, so that’s what I did. I reported for duty July 1, 1958 and at first I just rented a room. It was hotter than the damn hinges of hell, so I bought me a little old fan and had the thing directly on me during the night. Letty moved down there but I wasn’t so sure she should have even come.

The training was very good. At the Public Health Hospital we treated merchant seamen and their families as well as fishermen and their families. Charity Hospital was quite interesting because if you wanted to see a disease, you could find it in that hospital. For example, there were very few cases of diptheria in the US, and a physician may go through an entire career without seeing it, but on the Pediatrics ward we had 25 cases of diptheria at one time.

At Charity I worked with a resident named Clarence MacIntile from Idaho. He went back, and we kept in touch. Interns had free run to do what they wanted, so we ran the Pediatrics Deartment by ourselves. The place was always jammed, and I mean there were hundreds of them. But there just weren’t enough hours in the day, and you were lucky to get to a little bed across the street and get a few hours of sleep.

Emory had been a good school because during the clinical years, students got to do a lot of things and this was not true of some medical schools. I felt that my training was much better than others, so I was happy about that.

What took place over my lifetime to get to that point might have been called the ‘American Dream’ just a little while ago. You hear that term, but no one ever talks about the nitty gritty of how this was obtained. My philosophy has always been that no matter what it is one chooses do do in life, it is essential to do the very best you can do at it.

End Note: In the Charity ER video (above), a 9-year-old girl was involved in an accident where the frame of a swing set fell onto her skull. She has a severe head injury with bleeding and her brain is swelling. The brain has few places to swell to inside the rigid skull except through the foramen magnum at the base of the skull, and this is called herniation. Doctors will monitor the pressure, as they explain. They will also likely induce a coma to rest the brain and decrease oxygen demand. Posturing is an indication of severe head injury, where the arms become rigid and either turn out and away from the body or move inward toward the core of the body.


Was Vester Flanagan suffering from paranoid delusions and losing his sanity?

August 27, 2015

Vester Lee Flanagan II, who used the name Bryce Williams professionally, shot and killed Alison Parker and Adam Ward yesterday morning as Parker was interviewing Vicki Gardner, the director of the Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce. Ward, who worked with Parker regularly as her cameraman, was filming the interview which was being broadcast live by WDBJ-TV in Roanoke, VA. Although wounded, Gardner survived the shooting and is listed in good condition today after undergoing emergency surgery yesterday. Flanagan committed suicide yesterday around midday by shooting himself in the head after he attempted to flee from a Virginia state trooper and appeared to lose lost control of his vehicle ultimately stopping in a grassy median between the E/B and W/B lanes of I-66.

In a 23-page manifesto that Flanagan faxed to ABC News yesterday morning after the shooting, he described himself as “a human powder keg” claiming that he had been a victim of racial and sexual discrimination at the television station where Parker and Ward worked. He accused Parker of making a racist remark to him and Ward filmed his physical removal from the television station in 2013 after he was fired and refused to leave the premises. From Wikipedia:

WDBJ announced their hiring of Flanagan, using the professional name Bryce Williams, as a multimedia journalist on April 19, 2012. During his time there, he had heated confrontations with coworkers and was noted to have breached the company’s journalism standards, a poor on-air performance, and demonstrated a lack of thorough reporting. Office memos from WDBJ showed that in July 2012, Dan Dennison, then news chief of the station, ordered Flanagan to contact the Health Advocate after complaints that coworkers were “feeling threatened or uncomfortable” while working with him. The station dismissed him on February 1, 2013, citing his volatile temper and difficulty with coworkers. According to a former colleague, Flanagan lashed out at newsroom staffers after learning of his firing, resulting in the staffers being put in a room while police escorted Flanagan out of the building. Ward was said to have recorded Flanagan as he was escorted out and had a confrontation with him that day. WDBJ provided security to the staffers for a time after the incident, and directed them to call 9-1-1 if he ever returned to the station. Flanagan filed an EEOC complaint against WDBJ, again alleging racial discrimination; he allegedly named Parker in his complaint. Following an investigation, the EEOC dismissed the complaint after Flanagan’s claims were not corroborated.

I suspect Flanagan was struggling with a worsening mental illness that made it difficult for him to distinguish between reality and his imagination. He was difficult to work with and his work performance was sub-par. Here’s Wikipedia again,

Between March 1999 and March 2000, Flanagan worked as a reporter for NBC affiliate WTWC-TV in Tallahassee, Florida. After losing his job in March 2000, Flanagan filed a civil lawsuit against WTWC alleging racial discrimination. He also allegedly threatened to file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Flanagan’s lawsuit against WTWC was settled under unspecified terms in January 2001 (WTWC’s news operation itself was discontinued by its owner earlier in November 2000 due to ratings and budget issues). Former colleagues at WTWC later stated that Flanagan was fired for his poor work ethic and that he had fabricated his allegations of discrimination.

Flanagan spent a short period of time working in customer service in a Bank of America branch in San Francisco, then Pacific Gas and Electric in Greenville, North Carolina. He later joined Media General owned CBS affiliate WNCT-TV in Greenville from 2002 until 2004. He also found some work at ABC affiliate KMID in Midland, Texas.

He was apparently unable to secure another job after he was fired by WDBJ-TV in Roanoke in 2013. In his manifesto, he expressed admiration for the Columbine high school shooters and the Virginia Tech shooter. To top it off, he live-tweeted the murders while filming them. Then he posted his video on his Facebook page, set to auto-play, and linked to it with a tweet.

These were not the acts of a sane man. They appear to be the acts of an angry, vengeful and frightened paranoid man losing his sanity.

Flanagan never should have had access to a gun.

I would like to know if Flanagan was being treated by a mental health professional and, if so, whether he disclosed his intent to kill Parker and Ward.  If Flanagan disclosed his intent to kill Parker and Ward to a mental health professional, that person may have had a legal duty to warn them and the police.

Flanagan certainly acted with premeditated intent to kill because he had to get-up early, prepare himself and drive to the remote location by 6:45 am where the interview took place. We also know that he had previously rented a car at the Roanoke airport and parked it in the airport parking lot. After the murders, he drove to the airport, abandoned his car and drove out of the parking lot in the rental car.

 


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