Colonial violence…

Dec 9, 2022

 Globe and Mail – Tanya Talaga
Genocide is not in Canada’s past. It is still happening, to this day

The headline is in part reaction to the scene in Winnipeg where the authorities – politicians and police – are reluctant to begin a search of a wastage dump for the bodies of four Indigenous women suspected murdered by a serial killer and thrown in the dump.  The Winnipeg police Chief Danny Smith says that searching for the bodies would not be “feasible.” “Winnipeg Centre MP Leah Gazan had to stand up in Parliament on Monday to ask the federal government to intervene.” Talaga has a daunting challenge to Canadians:  “Colonial violence, racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia seem embedded in Canadian life. We see it in our health care system, and in the laws, policies and structures that built this country. We see it, too, in the disproportionate detention of Indigenous women in Canada’s jails.   Related article: The Lawyer’s Daily – Joan Jack  We are all responsible for murder of Indigenous women and girls  Related article: The Conversation – Cheryl Simon  Disenfranchising Indigenous women: The legacy of coverture in Canada   Related article: Global News – Sam Thompson   First Nations leaders call for resignation of Winnipeg police chief amid landfill controversy

Washington Post – Andrew Ba Tran, Marisa Iati, and Claire Healy
 As fatal police shootings increase, more go unreported – Flawed FBI data has left thousands of deaths uncounted and complicates efforts to hold troubled police departments accountable

The problem highlighted in the recent midterm elections is reasserted here.  While crime rates figured in both Republican and Democratic claims, the claims based on the FBI stats may have been grossly underestimated, at least when the stats look at the frequency of police killings.  The post keeps its own data base and says the killings are increasing every year without accountability.  “Even though federal records indicate that fatal shootings by police have been declining nationwide since 2015, The Washington Post’s Fatal Force database shows the opposite is true: Officers have shot and killed more people every year, reaching a record high in 2021 with 1,047 deaths. The FBI database contains only about one third of the 7,000 fatal police shootings during this time — down from half when The Post first started tracking.”

The Sentencing Project (US) – Richard Mendel
Why Youth Incarceration Fails: An Updated Review of the Evidence – Incarcerating youth undermines public safety, damages young people’s physical and mental health, impedes their educational and career success, and often exposes them to abuse.

The first piece of good news is that the number of youth incarcerations is declining.  The bad news is that the stats are showing that youth arrests are also declining, suggesting that the system has not changed the way youth offences are handled: incarceration remains the resolution rather than diversion.  “Most youth who are incarcerated in juvenile facilities are not charged with serious violent offenses, yet the United States continues to confine youth at many times the rates of other nations. And it continues to inflict the harms of incarceration disproportionately on Black youth and other youth of color – despite well-established alternatives that produce better outcomes for youth and community safety.” (This report is a comprehensive assessment of the moment and history of youth incarceration, a further assessment of why incarceration fails, and a third assessment of how alternatives are working better and cheaper than incarceration.)

Tweet from Representative Ilhan Omar (US): On military budget 2023  “The pentagon bill now totals $857B, $55B more than the President requested. It’s more than we spend on transportation, veterans, education, justice, int’l affairs, the environment, housing, science, space, job training, and employment COMBINED. I will be voting NO.”  (From her statement of the Bill authorizing the military budget)   Related: Tweet from Nina Turner (US) On military budget 2023  “The House just passed an $858,000,000,000 defense bill and not a single person, nor the media, asked “how are we going to pay for it? When it’s time fund programs that help poor people, we hear that question from Dems, the GOP, & pundits in the corporate media.”
Tweet from Doctors for Defunding Police:   “In Canada, Black people make 3% of the population but more than 10% of the federal inmate population.  While Indigenous people make up 5% of the population but more than 30% of the federal inmate population.”

La Ronge Now (Alberta) – Nigel Maxwell
Provincial Auditor’s report shines spotlight on segregation incidents at province’s jails

The Alberta auditor Tara Clemett has highlighted the use of solitary or segregation in Alberta’s troubled provincial jails.  Known as admin segregation, the practice keeps one incarcerated person away from others for safety or security reasons but is governed by expectations that no one endure more than 15 straight days.  The report says that at least 13 persons were held beyond the 15 day limit, making up 24% of the placements.  The report shows the comparative figures for 2019, 2021 with the 2022 numbers.

The Conversation (Queen’s) – Daniel Munro
Are conspiracy theorists true believers, or are they just acting out fantasies?

Munro thinks that the line between fantasy and reality becomes blurred when imagination is compiling great colourful detail and lacking the normal sign posts that remind one how far-fetched the notion is. In part, says Munro, the individual may also use the conspiracy theory to announce political loyalty.  One of the consequences is that we allow fantasy conspiracy theory to influence our beliefs.  “When we let these uses get mixed up, we risk allowing fantasies to influence our beliefs. This seems to be the mistake made by many conspiracy theorists, who become so absorbed by their imaginations that they lose track of the line between fantasy and reality.”

 European Countries Crime Prevention Network (EUCPN)

The latest offering is an approach to high risk victims’ groups consisting of a series of initiatives from Sweden, the Netherlands and Denmark and specific to the type of crime perpetrated.