Monday, November 7, 2011

Manhattan District Attorney Roosevelt Island Presentation On Criminal Justice System & Arrest To Sentencing Process Wednesday Evening - RIOC Makes It More Difficult To Obtain Timely and Accurate Information About Roosevelt Island Public Safety Incidents

The Manhattan District Attorney's office and Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) will be conducting a joint informational meeting Wednesday November 9 on the:
Criminal Justice System & Arrest To Sentencing Process
 RIOC President Leslie Torres described the event in her last Report to the Community:
...New York County District Attorney's Office Community Meeting

The New York County District Attorney's Office, in partnership with the Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department, will be hosting an informative community meeting on the Criminal Justice System and Arrest to Sentencing Process at the Good Shepherd Community Center (546 Main Street) on Wednesday, November 9th from 7pm to 9pm. Attendees will get information on the following:
• The PSD's role in the community and their initiatives
• Why the Manhattan District Attorney's Office has the authority to prosecute and
investigate crimes on Roosevelt Island
• An explanation of the criminal justice process in New York County
• The differences between a violation, misdemeanor and felony
• What is the arrest to sentencing process for adult offenders
• The role of Family Court in the criminal justice system
• The Manhattan District Attorney's new re-entry and juvenile justice initiatives

I encourage you all to come out. Light refreshments will be served....
The meeting will be at the Good Shepherd Community Center from 7-9 PM at 543 Main Street (not 546 Main Street). Among the items on the Agenda is:
The PSD's role in the community and their initiatives 
The Public Safety Department's role in the community, particularly RIOC's method of distributing information regarding their actions is very topical at the moment.

For the past several years, beginning with the approval of former RIOC President Steve Shane, the Public Safety Department would include the Roosevelt Islander Blog on the email distribution list for the daily Public Safety Incident Report which would then be posted on the Blog for the community to be able to view and be aware of. The practice of including this Blog on the email distribution list stopped soon after Mr. Shane's departure.  Mr. Shane's successor,  RIOC President Leslie Torres, promised that instead of my being on the Daily Public Safety report email distribution list she would send me a copy of the report after it was reviewed that same day. That practice did not last long and stopped too.

RIOC does post the daily report on it's web site, though only for that specific day other than weekend reports which generally appear the following Monday. On occasion there are reports on RIOC's web site of an assault, robbery, burglary, fight, shooting or other incident impacting the safety or quality of life for Roosevelt Island residents. When I see those types of incidents I ask RIOC for additional information such as the location and time of day of the incident, was anyone injured, what was stolen and whether Roosevelt Island residents were involved.

I believe information regarding these type of incidents is news and that the Roosevelt Island community should be made aware of these incidents in a timely and accurate manner. I do not ask for, nor publish, any information that would reveal specific identities of those involved or ongoing investigations. As reported in this October 18 post:
... In the past, I could ask Public Safety Director Keith Guerra about a particular incident and in most cases Mr. Guerra would reply promptly with an explanation as to what occurred. That is no longer the case because Mr. Guerra is not permitted to respond to press/blogger inquires. All inquiries regarding Roosevelt Island issues must be funneled through RIOC's Community Relations Office. In consultation with the appropriate RIOC staff, the Community Relations Office will determine if and to what extent a response is provided....
During a subsequent meeting with RIOC President Leslie Torres and RIOC's new lawyer last week, I was advised that from now on neither Mr. Guerra nor the Community Relations Office will respond to press/blogger requests for additional information on Public Safety Report information. Any request from the Roosevelt Island Blog for Public Safety Incident information must be made through a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) filing - a process that could take 2 weeks or longer for RIOC's legal department to review. Just a ridiculous, cover your ass requirement.

The type of information requested is generally available in the Monthly Public Safety Blotter. However, that information is not made public for 6-8 weeks after an incident occurred.

Below is the September Roosevelt Island Public Safety Blotter. Here are how some of those incidents are described:
  • Dog was left unattended in a vehicle with windows slightly opened. Owner was located and advised his dog cannot be left unattended in a vehicle. (outside 425 Main Street, 9/12),
  • Victim advised male subject (contractor) began using profanity towards him telling him and his workers to move out of the way while subject was in a vehicle. Subject then attempted to force victim out of the road with his vehicle. R/O on scene and spoke to subject's employer. All in order. (opposite 100 Main Street/9/19),
  • Bed bug infestation at residence. Tenant was placing items in the hallway. Tenant advised to cease. Condition is being treated. (580 Main Street/9/21),
  • Victim stated unknown male approached her and asked if he could urinate in front of her. Search of area for subject yielded negative results. (686 Main Street, 9/4),
  • Victim advised on a previous date an unknown male seemed to be following her at various locations island wide. Victim was advised to report any future incidents right away and was provided with PSD phone number. (10 River Road to 455 Main Street, 9/8),
  • Three male subjects observed taking pictures of bridge and power plant. NYPD on scene to run an identification check. All in order. NYPD advised subjects to delete the pictures. Subjects were released. (500 Main Street, 9/10),
  • Reporter advised three unknown individuals were loitering in hallway of location making a hand to hand exchange. Upon arrival subjects were not on scene. Search of area for subjects yielded negative results. (595 Main Street, 9/11),
  • Report of suspicious male looking into vehicles at location. Search of area yielded negative results for subject. (688 Main Street, 9/20),
  • Male observed in hallway and upon being seen fled to the stairwell. Search of area yielded negative results. Male left behind a small bag of marijuana, a lighter and a rolled up cigar. (560 Main Street, 9/29),
  • ARREST Male subject observed at location unlawfully. Upon search of subject one bag of marijuana, a screwdriver, two GPS Systems and several metro cards were in his possession. Subject was transported to 114 Pct for arrest processing. (546 Main Street,9/10)
  • ARREST Male subject observed attempting to conceal illegal substance. Subject was taken into custody for possession of marijuana and transported to the 114 Pct for arrest processing. (500 Main Street, 9/12)
  • ARREST Female subject taken into custody after being seen involved in sexual misconduct with a male youth. Subject transported to 114 Precinct for arrest processing. Youth's parent notified and on scene. (888 Main Street, 9/26)
  • Victim advised two male subjects forcibly took her handbag from her. Handbag contained $600 in cash and various forms of ID. Victim found handbag in stairwell with all contents except for cash. Search of area for subjects yielded negative results. NYPD on scene for report. (540 Main Street, 9/11)
  • ARREST Male and female victim assaulted and robbed by three male subjects known to victim. Both victim's sustained injuries and treated by EMS. NYPD on scene for report. Search of area for subjects yielded negative results. Ongoing investigation. Update - 9/17/11 Three male subjects arrested by PSD Officers in connection with robbery of 9/15/11 and transported to Manhattan Central Booking for arrest processing. (500 Main Street, 9/15) and
  • Victim advised three males approached her and attempted to take her Iphone. Victim resisted and one male subject grabbed her by the shoulders and took her headphones. Search of area for subjects yielded negative results. NYPD notified. (888 Main Street, 9/23)
There is no valid reason why the type of specificity in the Monthly Blotter cannot be provided in the Daily Public Safety Report. After all, as Ms. Torres reported in her recent Community Report, RIOC recently won an award;
... given by the State Chief Information Officer and Office for Technology (CIO/OFT) in recognition of a state or local government entity that has demonstrated innovative use of web 2.0 technology to advance their organizations core mission, serve citizens and foster open government and civic engagement.

Communicating and exchanging ideas with the Roosevelt Island community is a top priority for us...
Let's see RIOC's commitment to open government and communicating to the Roosevelt Island community applied to the Public Safety Reports and not hide behind bureaucratic cover your ass legalisms.

I have had several long discussion with senior RIOC staff about this issue. I still hope to resolve this issue so that the Roosevelt Island community is informed about Public Safety Incidents in a timely and accurate manner.
RIOC September Public Safety Blotter

UPDATE 5:15 PM -Was advised today during a phone conversation with RIOC President Leslie Torres and a subsequent email from a RIOC spokesperson that:
In response to your request for additional Public Safety Report information, RIOC will provide the time, location, and information about whether or not someone was injured.

... RIOC will generally not comment further.
For the most part, I think that is fair. More information is better but let's see how it works out.


Westviewer said...

IDs run on photographers?  Police "advised" them to delete the photos?  Where is this -- the former Soviet Union?

Frank Farance said...

For all the talk on having resident board members, how much help does
this get us having them on the board when these kinds of administrative
decisions/problems still occur, just like the old RIOC?

When RIOC tells you that you should FOIL, let the rest of us know about that, so we can submit similar (but not the same) FOIL requests. Then RIOC's attorney is swamped with scores (hundreds?) of FOIL requests that he/she must respond to.  At some point he/she is only going to be doing FOIL requests on baloney items.  And when he/she doesn't satisfy the FOIL timelines, you then complain to the appropriate State agencies.  Then Ms. Torres can thank herself for really unproductive decisions.  <-- This is a common approach to get entities to be reasonable and it usually works because there are more citizens than employees in an agency.

RooseveltIslander said...

I think we may have resolved the situation in obtaining additional info on Public Safety Reports. Chief Guerra is now allowed to respond with certain info and I don't need to submit FOIL requests.

Let's see how this works out. RIOC Director Margie Smith was very helpful in getting this resolved.

Thanks for your offer to help Frank.

JimmyLaRoche said...

If they were suspected of terrorism related activities, then why not?

Theres no ligitimate reason why two or more middle eastern men who are not involved in a relationship of some sort take pictures of landmarks,

If you see something, say something.

I would like to see more of public safetys work posted, as this proes they work just as harder than nypd and deserve more and our support instead of hearing little scrawny preteens and wanna be thug teens say " they just public safety, they cant do shit".

Its a community embarassment that we do not support and give public safety more community support and help them do a better job by giving them proper law enforcement equipment, training and community input(relations).

I guess just another typical governmental agency thinking backwards

For your information, public safety makes the arrest and follows through with the arrest all the way to prosecution and beyond. Its not simply just handing off the bad guy to nypd as the assumption is believed. Trust me, after a chat and an inquiry, you will be surprised what psd does with their lmited tools.

Im sure this presentation will be an eye opener and a reality check.

bartonfinck said...

I have noticed more drug related activity in South Town in the last few months...I have seen it, and smelled it out in the open in the light of day. Also please report any muggings that have happened in the last month...I fear the crime rate is hight than RIOC want everyone to know. Thak you for your reporting...I still think that NYPD need an office here...we are part of Manhattan, and should be treated like so.

Westviewer said...

Oh, I see.  If you look "middle eastern" and you are taking a photo of a bridge, you are suspected of terrorism.  I used to like living in a free country.  That was before 9/11, of course, when the government jumped on the opportunity to enact all kinds of laws that impinge on our liberties, without actually making us safer.  I witnessed the planes flying into the towers.  My first thought was, "Life as we've known it is over."  

What next, Jimmy?  Would you like a law enacted so that 'Middle Easterners" have to wear a crescent on their clothing?

CheshireKitty said...

First, did the blotter entry say the individuals were of Mid-East descent?  It did not.  Irregardless of the individuals' descent, the police may be justified in asking questions of anyone photographing Ravenswood power station, since it is definitely not a typical picturesque "touristy" location, but instead is simply a power plant, just like power plants the world over.  

The 36th Ave bridge, on the other hand, is somewhat picturesque, or "cute" even, and so it might be understandable that a tourist or visitor might wish to photograph it.  

In the end, of course, as far as I know, we can photograph just about anything, as long as we are not going to use the photos for nefarious purposes.  I think, if a policeman has a hunch about any behavior that seems out of the ordinary, such as why would anyone want to photograph a not particularly attractive power plant, they have a right to ask questions.  It's exactly the same as pulling over a motorist for a non-functioning directional signal, etc.  A little thing can sometimes lead to a big thing. 

You can say stopping and questioning is an infringement of our liberties, but if we are not doing anything wrong, then we have nothing to fear.  Most of us are not doing anything wrong, so in order to protect the majority of law-abiding citizens, we accept a level of possible "infringement of our liberties" in pedestrian or motorist stop & question by the police.  

Westviewer said...

Point of information:  Many people, including myself, like to photograph industrial sites and do find them picturesque.  

Trevre Andrews said...

As long as you are on public property you can photograph anyone or anything you want.  Public Safety or NYPD has no right to ask you to delete pictures or prevent you from taking them.

"You are under no obligation to explain
the purpose of your photography nor
do you have to disclose your identity
except in states that require it upon
request by a law enforcement officer"

End of discussions.  And I agree a majority of measures taken since 9/11 have actually put us at higher risk economically and by other means and has not made us safer .

JimmyLaRoche said...

It was an example, but i could care less who they were, if all you have on your camera is landmarks and target areas, you do not need those. Especially if theres two people and noone is in the picture.

Kind of odd right?

Two men together, taking pictures but noone is in it?

Not saying that is what happened but if i saw that, and i was in position to do something about it, sorry, thats getting deleted.

I am defianntly leaning towards that there was more to the story, but not enough for an arrest.

Westviewer said...

There's nothing at all odd about it.  Many photographers, including myself, try to avoid having people in the picture.  When I travel, the last thing I want is to have, say, a photo of myself or my travel companion standing in front of, say,  the Eiffel Tower.   I can't think of a more boring cliche.   

The smokestacks of the Ravenswood plant, as well as the very unusually colored Roosevelt Island bridge are eminently photographical.  I've taken many photos of both subjects over the years and so have many other people.  

A couple of years ago, the same kind of unwarranted suspicion you describe led to a ban on photography in the subway.  The hue and cry from tourists and photographers was so great that the ban was shortly lifted. "  

Being alert does not mean that we need to give up the civil liberties that this country has held dear since its founding.   We used to be proud to say, "This is a fee country."  People have become much too cavalier about giving up their freedom for the illusion of "safety." 

YetAnotherRIer said...

Yes, Jimmy, just because people you do not know do things you wouldn't do or understand means they are up for no good. Right.

roozevelt said...

 NYPD is not putting an office here.  The low crime rate does not support it.  We have been told this by the last three Precinct Commanders.  We have our own Public Safety Department.  Their officers work for low pay and do not carry firearms.  Why would they hide the stats?  If anything, you would think they would say there is a tremendous amount of crime here, so they can get raises and guns.  But no!  They don't because the reality is we live in one of the safest neighborhoods in the city.  The facts are the facts. 

roozevelt said...

BTW, New York State is one who requires identification upon request of Law Enforcement.  It's called "Common Law of Inquiry."

CheshireKitty said...

In response to Westviewer, point taken. There are also photographers/artists who may make a career out of photographing sidewalk textures etc.  For a cop, you have to consider the setting, the person, the circumstances and decide if this person is an artist or even a wannabe artist, or is he "casing" a power plant for a possible terrorist attack.  I do not think the police are at all beholden to cut anyone the benefit of the doubt in requesting answers/ID/even the photographs themselves to protect us.  Thus, the police should continue to "err" on the side of asking questions/requesting ID etc.  It is a wise precaution to do so.  

Here is a hypothetical:  Imagine if Al Queda (AQ) recruited an actual artist to take photographs of sensitive industrial locations.  The photographer would be an artist, so would have a perfectly understandable, "legitimate" interest in photographing power plants, including nuclear plants.  The artist might even already have plans to stage an exhibit of the photos at a recognized gallery.  For the artist, it would then be a simple matter to then either give the photos to AQ or simply invite them to the photo exhibit.  So why should a cop stop the AQ artist, as described above, from photographing the power plant?  

Your position is that anyone should be permitted to photograph anything - even if the information may later be used to harm us, as with the hypothetical case of an actual artist recruited by AQ to photograph industrial installations.  

My position is that we cannot be careful enough, and the photographer's inconvenience in answering questions/showing ID etc., is more than made up with by the enhanced safety the questioning gives the rest of us. And in this hypothetical case, if the police have any suspicions even about an actual artist photographing Ravenswood, they should definitely "err on the side of safety" and question/demand ID, then, depending on the results of this preliminary investigation, confiscate the photographs and consider referring the matter to the FBI for further investigation.  Something relatively "minor" as taking snapshots might lead to something "major" such as a plot.  

Point #2:  If everything is so hunky-dory regarding security, why is Ravenswood so "fortified" even to the extent of having high brick walls topped by 3 feet of razor-sharp barbed wire?  For the same reason cops watch the RI train station round the clock - these are potential targets, and as such must be protected, even if it means additional taxpayer dollars going to enhanced police protection/patrols etc.  

I definitely have no problem with the 24/7 police protection at the platform level of RI train station, nor with the barbed wire on the walls of Ravenswood, nor with anybody being questioned photographing Ravenswood or any other spot deemed "sensitive".  All these questions are a matter of police "calls" - as in "it's their call" to question depending on circumstances etc.  

The problem was, we were in fact too trusting and "open" prior to 911.  You see where "niceness" and "openness" got us.  A little caution and "mistrust" or "skepticism" prior to 911 about peoples' motives/intentions would have saved us a lot of sorrow later on.  

Westviewer said...

I don't like seeing this country turn into WWII East Germany.

YetAnotherRIer said...

Sorry, but no. The police should not err on the side of so-called, paranoia-induced, safety that restricts my basic rights. The police should not care at all if somebody takes a picture of a bridge, a power plant, or a court house. All this nonsense that homeland security is doing is eating up a lot of money and gives us almost nothing in return. People tried to circumvent all those security measures that are put in place successfully. This fear-inducing strategy that the government is using to prevent something that is simply not preventable is taking its toll on what this country used to stand for. And you, CK, are one of the many who fell for it.

Trevre said...

I don't know why people are still discussing this. The law is clear. You can photograph from public property just about anything you want. You are under no obligation to answer questions or delete pictures. I dare nypd or public safety to push this issue, they would be in for a huge civil liberties lawsuit. Don't give in to the fear mongering, you have rights, and don't let anyone's opinion about it direct you otherwise. Terrorist would just use google earth if they needed imagery, are you going to try and censor that? Good luck.

Trevre Andrews said...

The law is clear. you can photograph from public property just about anything you want.  You are under no obligation to answer questions or delete pictures.  I dare NYPD or public safety to push this issue, they would be in for a huge civil liberties lawsuit.  Don't give in to the fear mongering , you have rights, and don't let anyone's opinion about it direct you otherwise.  Terrorists could just use Google earth if they wanted imagery.  Are you going to try and censor that?  Good Luck.  The biggest act of terrorism at all is our self inflicted efforts to prevent it.   

Westviewer said...

Well said.

Westviewer said...

Well said. 

Frank Farance said...

Thank you Mr. O'Conor, and thank you Ms. Smith.

CheshireKitty said...

Westviewer & YetAnotherRIer - You are both entitled to your opinion.  Trevre - Of course terrorists could obtain detailed photographs from Google Earth.  The immense amount of information floating around, already available, makes it all the more important we find out if anybody is planning to use it to harm us and get to that person or persons before they get to us.  

There are plots that are being discovered and disrupted fairly often - meaning it is not just "paranoia" that there may be religious or ideological zealots out there who may wish to do us harm.  We must stay one or more steps ahead of the terrorists and continue to thwart their efforts to harm us. I don't see how analyzing information and monitoring activities is equivalent to living in a police state.  If we do not do this, we just leave ourselves open to further attacks.  This is  illustrated by the situation before 911 - when we had a more easy-going attitude to possibility of a terrorist attack and were not pursuing the collection and analysis of information on a massive scale.  This lack of focus on the threat of terrorism meant we had let our guard down.  We should have hit back hard at AQ after the twin embassy attacks - possibly invaded Afghan then.  But Clinton was too preoccupied with the Monica Lewinsky scandal to fully focus on the significance of the embassy attacks which signaled the growing effectiveness of AQ.  Now, we are, thank goodness, fully focused on the threat of militant hostile organizations like AQ and little by little are dismantling and destroying them.  

unbelievable said...

Nys does not have a mandantory carry id policy. If a law enforcement officer stops you but you know you did not commit a crime, you can refuse to.give them your information. If you committed a crime no matter how petty, you either present id or get arrested so law enforcement can prove your id, even if it means spending a night in jail.

Trevre Andrews said...

So what you really meant is despite the level of imagery freely available, we should be questioning our local photographers more, having them delete imagery as PSD or NYPD sees fit, yes invading other countries has usually been a great idea, and 911 is basically Clinton's fault...   

unbelievable said...

Be part of the sheeple with your belief. I rather have pro active law enforcement out there securing this country, than just let the terrorists run freely. Last i checked law enforcement does not have psychic capabilities. Not saying its right or wrong, but maybe you should find non landmarks to take a photo of in the camera.

YetAnotherRIer said...

Oh, come on now. Really? Do you really think that terrorism is preventable? Do you really think that restricting my basic rights will stop anybody or even make it even remotely possible to prevent terrorist attacks? It seems you really do believe in this and no matter what facts we can come up with you will find a way out. It's your right to do so. It is sad, though, that you seem to support things like the Patriot Act. The terrorists indeed have won. We became a nation living in fear and let government slowly but surely restrict our rights.

CheshireKitty said...

I don't think the Founders would have acted any differently if faced with the threat of terrorism.  They might even have been tougher.  They might characterize a terrorist, if of the home-grown variety, as a traitor; if so, then the penalty would be death or at the very least, exile.  If the perpetrator was from abroad, they might have been called saboteurs; if so, the penalty would have been death.  

What the US wishes to do nowadays is not wait until we are actually attacked, but preempt possible attacks. I think the Founders again would have been very tough on possible threats.  A loud-mouth going on about how great the British are in post-Revolutionary NYC might have been escorted to Canada, i.e. exile with expropriation.  That in fact happened not infrequently in those days.  Quite a few Royalists from NYC had to go back to either England or on to Canada.  

If the British tried to pick on us in a covert mission, what do you think the US response would have been?  We would of course have destroyed their team.  If we caught up with a landing party of British, even before they might have tried to sabotage something, I am sure they would have been executed after a swift trial, or before a military tribunal; or maybe they would have been imprisoned.  (During WW2, we did have some Nazi saboteurs who were caught before they carried out their scheme.  They were executed, not imprisoned.)

I'm sure these tough responses would have been backed up 100% by the framers and the Founders - those that formulated the Bill of Rights.  

CheshireKitty said...

It's always a judgment call by PSD or NYPD about questioning people.   I don't think a more proactive approach has been such a bad idea.  

As far as having to invade countries, or get involved in foreign wars, remember - we should have invaded Europe much sooner than we did to fight Hitler. It was after we were hit at Pearl Harbor that we entered WW2.  Meanwhile, Hitler had wiped out millions in Europe.  

So sometimes, yes, we don't invade soon enough - I do think had we invaded Afghan after the embassy bombings, we might have thwarted 911.  I'm not saying that Clinton blew it - not exactly.  I don't think his response to the embassy bombings really did much to stop AQ's effectiveness, didn't do enough to disrupt them, or root them out.  

After the US response to the embassy bombings, AQ continued with its plots.  It was a couple of years after 911 that you really began to see a fall-off in "spectacular"/horrendous AQ-sponsored or inspired bombings etc.  Had Clinton acted more energetically or forcefully, not only 911, but the other major attacks such as Madrid, London, Bali, even Mumbai, might have been prevented once governments and police forces around the world got on board and began cooperating to combat terror.  

The comprehensive worldwide effort against terror only started after 911.  That meant many plots that were "in the works" could still be carried out, unfortunately.  Once terror kingpins and financiers were taken out one by one, the plots were disrupted etc., and you began seeing fewer major attacks after a few years.  This suppression and destruction of terror networks/effectiveness  could have started a couple of years sooner had the US done more post the embassy bombings.  

Westviewer said...

Rational argument will  not win out.  Do you know this one:  A man was seen sprinkling powder in front of Grand Central Terminal.  When asked what he was doing, he said he was sprinkling tiger powder to prevent tiger attacks.  The inquirer said, "But there are no tigers around here."  The sprinkler replied, "Well, I guess it works."

Closing the barn door after the horse has escaped will not help.  There is no rational reason, for example, that we should have to remove our shoes to get on a airplane.  

CheshireKitty said...

In the aftermath of 911, did anyone organize protests against the increased security?  If so, I don't remember them. Instead, in general, you have people going along with and no doubt usually approving the heightened security measures.  Westviewer - you can liken the security threats to imaginary "tiger attacks" yet there have been some very real plots, some which were thwarted and  some which unfortunately were not, such as the horrendous mass shooting at the Army base in Austin. 

However, consider this example of positive and life-saving citizen action:  If it hadn't been for the airline passengers who tackled the underwear bomber, he might have succeeded in blowing himself and the plane up.  Did those other passengers do something wrong in tackling the guy?  I don't think so.  They rightfully stopped a crime that was about to occur and basically effected a citizens' arrest, in holding the guy until the plane landed when he could be detained by the police.  I think these passengers being pro-active, and not being afraid to act if something seems amiss, is indicative of how aware/pro-active most people have become in light of the security threats.  

Westviewer said...

Don't you see the difference between an actual threat and someone taking a photograph of a colorful bridge?  

YetAnotherRIer said...

Yes, they rightfully stopped it and that's cool. Treating me as a potential terrorist just for wanting to board a plane or taking some pictures of beautiful scenery is entirely different. You do not see a difference? I get this idea that you are one of those "if you aren't doing anything wrong you shouldn't be worried about constant surveillance" people. It's a very slippery slope and history taught us a lot about where this can be heading to.

Btw, there has been a lot of initiatives and hearing about what Homeland Security is doing. Many politicians even are becoming a bit weary about what's going on there.

roozevelt said...

You guys are killing me... Enough about the stupid pictures and terrorist activity.  This forum was about the Criminal Justice System and what happens to people when they get arrested.  Too bad the parents who's kids are headed down that road aren't the ones who show up.  And you guys talking about taking pictures of bridges and power plants probably weren't there either.  People, stick to the topics on the blog.

Trevre Andrews said...

Disagree.  We are discussing the PSD's role in the community.   Some of us think this should be limited, others do not.  This is also about RIOC not wanting the PSD report scrutinized, and what barriers they are erecting to keep time sensitive information from the community.  

YetAnotherRIer said...

If you don't like the way this discussion went down, please, just ignore it. It definitely triggered something important to talk about. Your contributions are welcome.

JimmyLaRoche said...

Well for one thing, nypd is hardly reluctant to ever inform the community, we are all very lucky we have psd here to at least tell us something.

I think and truly feel psd's role is not enough and need more.

CheshireKitty said...

Remember how things were 20 years ago after the Crown Heights riots - the general atmosphere of chaos, which set the stage for the election of a Republican, avowedly tough Mayor, in an overwhelmingly Democratic city?  Someone had to read the riot act to NY and like it or not, it was Giuliani's toughness that got chaos and crime in the city under control.  

Likewise, after 911, it was apparent that chaos and a lack of coordination in law enforcement/intelligence had led to the US not detecting the 911 plot in time, and it was again time to read the riot act - so to speak - to anybody contemplating a plot etc.; if I am not mistaken, both political parties had no problem enacting and enforcing laws to do so.  Just like there were no demonstrations against Giuliani's policies, there have been no demonstrations against the Patriot Act.  Who is going to demonstrate against policies that enhance our safety?  

Of course some will question the policies that brought crime under control in NY such as the roadblocks, check ID policies etc.  But is it really asking too much to have proper identification available to show to the police?  Or have a driver's license, reg and ins available?  

As far as the counter-terrorism policies, of course many detest the inconvenience of having to undergo the thorough screening at airports yet it is the practice of thorough screening plus checking names on passenger lists that can catch known terrorist associates before they try to board a plane.  Basically, we trade off convenience and some privacy for enhanced security.  Each of us sacrifices a little for the greater good of community safety and national security.  

YetAnotherRIer said...

Again... terrorism will never be preventable. If we cannot agree on this important statement we have to stop this now and here.

That said, there will always be too many ways to kill innocent people on our grounds. Sure, the way it was done 10 years ago is pretty much a no-go but don't you think that there are 1000s of other ways? So, yes, you can inconvenience innocent people and remove/restrict some of the their privacy but for what outcome? It is very steep price to pay for very little in return.It's similar to the war on drugs. Billions of dollars spent and almost nothing to show for.

CheshireKitty said...

I don't agree that terrorism will never be preventable.  I think we're in the midst of a cycle of terrorism which began with the shock of tradition/religion vs modernity/secularism in the Mid-East which coincided with the arrival of the State of Israel.  I am hoping that the current younger generation, having accepted modernity, may turn away definitively from trying to turn the clock back to an earlier way of life - although of course you never know.  Moreover, notions of religion in the Mid-East may be bound up with nationalism.

A sea-change has to occur in peoples' thinking for terrorism to die out - a recognition that no-one is taking either their culture or religion away from them, but that both are particular/individual and cannot be imposed on others in a modern multi-cultural, multi-ethnic metropolis.  Although I support the State of Israel, I do not think its current policies, which exclude full participation by Israeli Arabs, will lead to a just peace.  In the Arab-Israeli conflict, both sides must dial back the rhetoric, self-righteousness, and clinging to nationalism/religion, in order to accept differences and learn to trust despite the differences.  That at least is my opinion, which I know is not shared by many either on the left or right.  

You will only get a cessation of terrorism, or at least Islamicist terrorism, when groups in the Islamic world, such as the Copts and other Christians, the Druze, the Shia, and all the other minorities, are fully accepted and afforded equal rights and protections.  Our religious freedom is not currently a freedom or a right in that part of the world - thus the principal problem for these still-modernizing nations is to instill beliefs in religious freedom, and all the other freedoms we take for granted.  I think anything is possible - even in a country like Saudi - for these countries to accept varieties of belief/thought and step away from an almost authoritarian mind-set.  

Westviewer said...

Terrorists are not limited to one group.  Even if the Islamic world adjusts to modernity and the terrorist fanatics coming out of that world desist, as you would like them do,  there will be other grievances and  causes.  In the meantime, we have allowed the current crop of terrorists to chip away at our country's civil liberties.  In a way, we have begun to hand the terrorists a victory.  

Trevre Andrews said...


YetAnotherRIer said...

They already did. Terrorism, by definition, is not necessarily about killing people. It is about instilling fear. So much fear that society becomes crippled. This is the path we are on.

Westviewer said...

Yes, exactly.

CheshireKitty said...

Of course there are many other terrorist groups other than AQ or AQ-inspired or affiliated groups - the Irish nationalist IRA attacked targets in the UK/Northern Ireland for years, and the Basque separatist group ETA attacked targets in Spain.  To this day, a separatist Islamist group is fighting the central authority in the Philippines, and for many years a group in the then-Spanish Sahara was fighting Spanish colonial rule.  The Tamil Tigers were actively fighting in Sri Lanka, to name a few.  I'm sure I'm missing scores of other groups scattered throughout Asia/Africa etc.  

Here in the US though, at least since the 70s or even before, and especially since the first attack on the WTC and of course 911the main problem is with the pro-Palestinians & Islamists.  In prior decades we had many attacks by the PR separatist group FNLA.  The Okla City bombing was the work of a small group of right-wing terrorists angry about the gov's handling of the Waco sect.  Yet today, when people in the US think of terror, they automatically think of 911 and the Islamist threat.  

I disagree with you that the intention of the Islamists is to instill fear in the US population.  I think the 19 killers of 911 were intent on killing as many civilians as possible in their attack on the WTC.  If the towers had fallen immediately, the death toll would have been in the tens of thousands - maybe 50,000 would have died.  The sick "calculus" of the killers was to get the most bang for their buck by striking at tall crowded buildings sitting atop a transportation hub, which were also close by additional tall crowded buildings.  We were incredibly lucky the buildings stood for as long as they did - about an hour - which gave the occupants time to evacuate and also gave the people in the surrounding area/subway/PATH time to get out of harm's way.  

And there is no way to measure the health ramifications of the cloud of toxic smoke and dust that emanated from the burning pit for about a month afterwards, that we were all exposed to, to lesser or greater extents.  

I do not think Islamists have a political goal that can be negotiated - they are not like the IRA in that way.  The Islamists have written off those who are not completely invested in their version of Islam - be they Muslims or non-Muslims.  They are religious "puritans" and their goals are non-negotiable.   They are extremists based on the Wahhabi sect of the Sunni branch of Islam; however, luckily, most Islamic believers do not ascribe to these extreme views.  As I wrote in an earlier post, the passage of time may eventually reconcile factions within the Islamic world, as the tide of modernity renders religious differences less significant.  

Meanwhile, though, as we unfortunately learned from the tragedy of 911 and from other plots that have played out (as well as those that haven't) it doesn't take many Islamists, or even Islamists joined in a group, to carry out attacks.  That is why, as long as we - viewed as we are as the "guarantor" of the State of Israel and upholder of the status quo in pro-American but un-democratic Mid-East countries - remain the object of the Islamists' rancor, we must keep up the vigilance and counter-terrorist effort.  The security effort is unlikely to diminish no matter who is elected in the next Pres election, and there is a good reason it will not - most citizens are willing to trade some privacy for enhanced security.  It is unimaginable that a main-stream pres candidate would call for the relaxation of our vigilance vis-a-vis terrorism.  

YetAnotherRIer said...

"I disagree with you that the intention of the Islamists is to instill fear in the US population.  I think the 19 killers of 911 were intent on killing as many civilians as possible in their attack on the WTC."

I understand by now that we will never agree on anything concerning terrorism. I disagree, though, that AQ was out to kill as many people as possible. They could've done many different things that would've killed many more people (thousands and thousands more) that would have required a lot less preparations. They were not out to kill... they were out to showcase what they are able to do. They wanted to put this country on alert and make us live in fear for the following decades.

Westviewer said...

Yes.  The mortalities were almost incidental.  It was for the site, the visibility, and their symbolic value that the buildings were chosen as targets. 

CheshireKitty said...

Having us live in fear doesn't particularly "advance" their goals.  I don't think they particularly wish to "co-exist" or "negotiate" - their stated objective is the elimination of Western/modern influence in the "Islamic" or Mid-East lands, and the imposition of a form of Islam that might not have even been practiced under  the Prophet Himself, along with the return of the caliphate so as to enforce their version of a religiously oriented supra-national state or empire.  They want to turn the clock back to a time that probably never existed, since none of the early caliphs or princes were really that religious even at the height of the Islamic empire's power.  

What the Islamists want is the imposition of a religious utopia that has never existed historically.  Their position thank goodness is most definitely not shared by most believers in the Quran.  No Arab of the metropolis in their right mind, no matter how religious, would want a regime like what the Taliban set up in Afghan to be imposed in say Egypt or Libya.  There is no way to reverse the "march of time" and modernity - no matter how "shocking" secularization and modernization may seem.  

Yet AQ can score successes in states that are poor and backward  - by offering  pie in the sky promises of empire/power etc to people that obviously have so little to lose, such as African youths in Somalia or Eretria, or the impoverished Yemenis, or marginalized tribespeople in Paki.  

How likely is it for AQ's version of social organization to spread to the metropolis in the Mid-East?  You can see that the Arab Spring is pro-democracy, not pro-AQ or even pro-Islam, even if Islamic factions participate in bringing down dictatorships.  If these populations wind up enabling the ascent of parties that advocate the re-imposition of dictatorship in the form of a king or caliph, in other words, vote in democratic elections for Islamist parties that espouse anti-democratic "solution" i.e. the caliphate, you will see another series of Arab Springs as these parties are in turn ousted.  The lesson for all will be, you cannot use democracy to kill democracy.