Posts Tagged ‘violence’

Want to see some heroes at work? This week’s vid features the trailer for a documentary by a young film maker, Justin Salerian, and an equally young producer, Michael Marantz, who deftly captured the intense drama of working as an EMT in Johannesberg, South Africa.

Their movie, Tell Me and I Will Forget, tells the story of paramedics struggling to treat patients amidst the violence and chaos occurring in Johannesberg. It was filmed using handheld cameras, which just makes an already engaging story all the more intimate and compelling.

Trailer for “Tell Me and I Will Forget”

If you’re not aware, Johannesberg has one of the highest crime rates in the world, making it not only one of the most dangerous places to live and visit, but an even more dangerous place to work.

According to the US Department of State, violent crime is a particular concern there:

Violent, confrontational crime is a major concern. Such crimes include home invasion robberies, burglaries, carjackings, street muggings, smash-and-grabs, organized attacks on commercial and retail centers (shopping malls and outlets), bombings of ATMs, as well as attacks on cash-in-transit vehicles/personnel (i.e., armored car/personnel).

The EMTs featured are some of the most highly trained in the country, and they respond to many of these crime scenes using specially equipped vehicles that allow them to travel quickly across long distances.

If you’re interested in emergency medicine, especially the work EMTs do, then you’ll absolutely enjoy this film.

It’s currently available for streaming on Netflix and Amazon.

Have a safe weekend!

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If you’ve ever been in a jail, or worked in one, you know that they can most definitely be laboratories of dysfunction and violence.  Confine people in a small area long enough, even if they aren’t drunk or high, give them little or no opportunity to avoid contact with each other, add the stress of pending legal problems and other human frailties, and aggression will often be the result.

That’s why many jails have moved to a direct supervision model that keeps inmates out in the open where correctional staff can easily see and hear what’s going on most of the time.

Many modern jail intake areas look more like a bus station than a lockup

Many modern jail intake areas look more like a bus station than a lockup

This works fine, of course, for the majority of inmates who just want to be left alone and  get released as soon as possible. They’ll sit patiently and watch TV until bail or bond is posted and they can be on their way.

For some detainees, though, especially those who have significant behavioral issues, direct supervision often isn’t an option. There are also a number of older jails that still use an indirect supervision approach across the entire facility.

No matter the supervision model, violence can and does occur, even in the most well managed facilities. Which gets us to this week’s vid.


Unlike many people, I’m not angry with the jury in the Zimmerman case. I don’t agree with their decision, but I completely respect it. Being a juror is a tough gig: No matter the outcome, someone is going to be upset with whatever you decide. Making some type of universally “right” decision in that environment is not really a possibility.


Photo courtesy of TopSoft

The jury did exactly what they were supposed to do: They heard all the evidence, received information about  applicable laws, and then made a considered decision. That’s the way the jury system works. We need to get past that.

To my mind, the more concerning issue is the state of the law in Florida. Here’s where the Zimmerman case has left us:


If you haven’t seen it yet, the below video footage of officers responding to a man-with-a-gun call at a University of Central Florida dormitory was released this week.  It shows officers quickly and carefully responding to the call and searching for the reported gunman, who turned out to have committed suicide in his dorm room prior to officers arriving.

In addition to the firearms seen in the video, police later recovered explosive materials in bags near the man’s body. Thankfully, those didn’t detonate, and the alleged gunman wasn’t able to carry out his reported plan to corral and kill a number of people on the campus by pulling the fire alarm.

This incident was another reminder, though, of the unpredictability of human behavior, especially when it comes to violence.

Have a safe weekend!

Facebook proclaims that it “helps you connect and share with the people in your life,” which, as it turns out, may not always be such a good thing. Illegal activity, ranging from child pornography, stalking and harassment, and violation of restraining orders also occurs in the virtual world of social media. Even more concerning, however, are violent offenses, such as  sexual assault and homicide, that have been either facilitated or directly precipitated by use of such sites.

As it turns out, though, this might just be a double edged sword. Social media can facilitate crime, but it can also help solve offenses, too.

For example, a teenager was recently found guilty of a 2011 Facebook-related murder in which the site was used to lure the victim to a location where he was then shot to death. Fortunately, detectives were able to seize the teen’s computer and verify that he was indeed the person responsible for the crime.

Below is an excellent infographic created by that describes twenty other offenses solved using Facebook. The range and scope of these crimes is pretty staggering, as is the apparent ignorance of some of the perpetrators who treated a social media site as if it were their private haven. As you’ll see, that didn’t work out too well for them.

Students, teachers, and administrators working together at Harper High School to create a safe learning environment for all.

This weekend, I listened to the first part of a fascinating two-part podcast by This American Life out of WBEZ in Chicago. The episode was about students, teachers, and administrators in Chicago who are struggling against a tide of gang violence that has shifted in unexpected ways in recent years. It’s a story we don’t often hear reported with this type of depth, and it reveals the amazing work that some of the unsung heroes in our school system are doing and how they’re trying to create a safe place to learn for all, often against terrible odds.

If you have an hour to spare this week, I highly recommend giving it a listen. Whether you’re involved in the educational system or the criminal justice system, there’s something valuable there for everyone.