Society's ChildS


Border Patrol teaching children to shoot at human-shaped targets that look like immigrants

Controversial photographs from a recent Border Patrol event show agents teaching children to aim and shoot a paintball gun at a human-shaped target. Immigrant activists have accused Border Patrol of using this activity to encourage children how to shoot immigrants in an area where migrants have died.

"The target is dressed to resemble a migrant and is located within 100 feet from Virginia Avenue where actual persons have been killed by Border Patrol gunfire," Immigrants Rights Consortium's Pedro Rios said, according to NBC San Diego News. "While encouraging children to use guns to shoot at a migrant effigy is unconscionable, it is also symbolic of the agency's unabashed culture of violence which has grown from a lack of accountability, oversight and unprofessional standards that rebuke best practices in situations involving use-of-force."

Border Patrol claims it is "standard" practice to use targets dressed in jeans and a t-shirt. It denies, however, that the target was meant to look specifically like an immigrant, and said the "activity was meant to create awareness about law enforcement tools used to address some violent situations without the use of deadly force."

Bizarro Earth

'Significant' spill of coal slurry taints creek in West Virginia

coal slurry west virginia
© Mark Cornelison

The coal slurry spill in West Virginia Tuesday morning wasn't nearly as bad as this one in Inez,
Kentucky, 11 years ago, but the risk is always there, especially when regulators don't regulate. Officials of the state's Department of Environmental Protection don't yet know how much coal slurry has leaked from a facility in Kanawha County, West Virginia. But a DEP spokesman characterized it as "significant."

It has already blackened Fields Creek not far from where it empties into the Kanawha River. State officials and those at West Virginia American Water say the spill is no threat to drinking water supplies. Indeed, Jimmy Gianato, the director of the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management at the state's Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety, said: "I don't think there's really anything to it. It turned out to be much of nothing."

That doesn't quite seem to mesh with "significant," but if true, it would be good news after more than a month of worries caused by the 10,000-gallon spill of a chemical mixture - Crude MCHM - from Freedom Industries on the Elk River. That spill did taint drinking water. One elementary school, according to the Charleston Gazette, detected low levels of MCHM in water from a drinking fountain Tuesday morning. Authorities say they will flush it out after school.


Best of the Web: 10 Prison security techniques being implemented on the American people

psychopathy poster
Americans are not typically aware of how their federal and state prison systems work. What we think we know, we learned from watching television.

When I took my first walk through at FCI (Federal Correctional Institution) El Reno Oklahoma as a new employee, I was surprised at how non-Hollywood real prison life is.

Frankly, all I knew about prison life was what I saw on television or at the movies. Not even close.

As I got closer to retiring from the Federal Bureau of Prisons (FBOP), it began to dawn on me that the security practices we used in the prison system were being implemented outside those walls.

"Free worlders" is prison slang for the non-incarcerated who reside in the "free world." In this article I am going to compare a number of practices used in federal prisons to those being used today in the "free world."

You might find that our country may be one giant correctional institution.

Arrow Down

Fingerprint and eye-scanning drones to make deliveries in UAE

Fingerprint Payment
© Wolfgang von Brauchitsch/Bloomberg/Getty ImagesA shopper uses a fingerprint scanner to pay for items at a German grocery store.
Amazon drones may make quick deliveries to your house in the future, but the United Arab Emirates government is looking to add similar technology to its skies much sooner - within a year.

The UAE government detailed a prototype of a drone that would deliver official packages and personal documents such as driver's licenses and ID cards right to citizen doorsteps, per a Reuters report on Monday. To keep the cargo secure, the drones would be equipped with fingerprint and retina scanners to make sure they are delivering to the correct recipients.

"The UAE will try to deliver its government services through drones. This is the first project of its kind in the world," said Mohammed Abdullah Al Gergawi, the Minister of Cabinet Affairs in the UAE government, according to Reuters.

Gergawi said the drones are battery-operated and measure about 1.5 feet. The casing is white and features a UAE emblem. Drones have been tested in Dubai for the past six months and will likely roll out in the next year, the report said. Eventually, the government plans to make the service available across the country.

But the initiative faces a few challenges. In addition to safety and tech issues, it also must withstand the dessert's summer heat and dust storms.

In December, Amazon announced that it would send a million flying drones into the air to deliver purchases through an initiative called Amazon Prime Air. Although the company said it is anticipating a 2015 rollout, it is still awaiting FAA approval, which could take years.


Death penalty suspended in Washington state

Gov. Jay Inslee  Washington
Washington State Governor Jay Inslee
Gov. Jay Inslee said Tuesday he was suspending the use of the death penalty in Washington state for as long as he's in office, announcing a move that he hopes will enable officials to "join a growing national conversation about capital punishment."

The first-term Democrat said he came to the decision after months of review, meetings with victims' families, prosecutors and law enforcement.

"There have been too many doubts raised about capital punishment, there are too many flaws in this system today," Inslee said at a news conference. "There is too much at stake to accept an imperfect system."

Last year, Maryland abolished the death penalty, the 18th state to do so and the sixth in the last six years. In Washington state, legislative efforts to abolish the death penalty have received public hearings in recent years, but they've never gained political traction. Inslee said he would support a permanent ban from lawmakers.

Washington state hasn't executed an inmate in more than three years. There have been seven inmates executed this year in the U.S., according to the Washington D.C.-based Death Penalty Information Center.

Richard Dieter, the center's executive director, said recent state moves away from the death penalty, including Inslee's action, show that support for capital punishment is waning. "The death penalty is being used less," he said.


Fukushima Daiichi: The Truth and the Future

As part of a presentation in Kansai, Japan on May 12th 2012, Maggie and Arnie Gundersen of Fairewinds Energy Education answered specific questions asked by symposium organizers regarding the condition of the spent fuel pool at Fukushima Daiichi Unit 4. Fairewinds analyzes the explosion at Fukushima Daiichi Unit 3. Also, Arnie discusses what the future may hold for Japan if it chooses a path without nuclear power.


Horrifying: Cop shoots man's service dog during his 9-year-old son's birthday party

As a 9-year-old boy's birthday party was winding down at an Idaho home on Saturday, a police officer fatally shot a service dog belonging to the boy's father.

At around 5:30 p.m., the officer was responded to complaints of dogs on the loose, which is what he found when he arrived.

Officer Tarek Hassani, of the Filer Police Department, is seen on footage captured by his vehicle's dashcam kicking and yelling at the barking dogs as he attempted to make his way to the front door. When one of the dogs attempted to move around him, the officer shot the 7-year-old black labrador, named "Hooch," at point-blank range.


Flashback Crowded Earth: Where is everyone going to live?

60 million people every year are heading into the cities -- and the UN estimates the trend is going to continue until 85% of the whole population end up living in the cities. We explored some of the strange things happening on earth in our cities.


Flashback Who are the Taliban?

© Ghaith Abdul Ahad
The Taliban are one of the most reviled, controversial, and arguably misunderstood, political movements in history.

So we decided to take a look at exactly where the Taliban came from, how they got into power in Afghanistan -- and then got removed by the United States five years later -- and why they have proved themselves to be such a formidable fighting force.

And a huge headache for the US.


Good news: You got probation, not jail. Bad news: You're going to jail anyway

private probation
© Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post via Getty Images
Private probation companies strap low-income offenders with endless penalties and fees.

Clifford Hayes was destitute. Then his nightmare began: dealing with offender-funded probation.

Like many convicts, Hayes is poor, and he was sentenced to probation overseen by private companies who charge their fees directly to offenders.

On paper, that might sound like a good way to allow states to reduce costs. But in reality, the policy has gotten in the way of many convicts' rehabilitation and reintegration into society.

Last year, Hayes sought clearance at a police station to enter a homeless shelter in Augusta, Ga. Instead, he was arrested on an outstanding warrant for failure to comply with the terms of his probation (for DUI and minor traffic violation convictions from several years earlier). That mainly included his failure to pay more than $2,000 in fines and probation fees that had accumulated over years - fees that the then-homeless man, now living on disability benefits, still cannot afford to pay. Eventually he ended up behind bars - precisely the punishment that probation is meant to avoid.