Monday, October 30, 2006

More than just a game

St. Louis just won more than the World Series. Besides being #1 in baseball this year, St. Louis was deemed this year's most dangerous city. Number 2, also in both baseball and danger, is Detroit.

On the scale of 1 to 371 (with 1 as safest, 371 as most dangerous), Seattle weighs in at position 262. The safest city is Brick NJ. The safest city in the Pacific NW is Bellevue at 57, the most dangerous is Tacoma at 324. New York City, my hometown, is 145.

The study was conducted by Morgan Quitno Press, a private research and publishing company specializing in state and city reference books.

See the Seattle Times article here.

Click here for the complete list.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Self-defense and lethal force on Seattle streets

An assault turned deadly in downtown Seattle this past weekend. One man assaulted another, and the second took out his gun and fired one shot. The first man, later identified as Daniel Culotti, age 25, died at Harborview Medical Center. The original victim (age 52) had a concealed weapons permit and was reported as very cooperative with the police. While the prosecutors' office will make a final determination, the second man was released by the police by reason of self-defense.

You can read the Seattle Time's original story here.

You can read the Seattle Time's follow-up article about the dead man's troubled past here. Towards the end of this article, there is a discussion on what constitutes self-defense, and the use of lethal force defending oneself and others.

This is doubly sad. Sad first because Mr. Culotti managed to fall between the cracks of the mental health and justice systems. Sad second because the unnamed defender was sufficiently endangered to kill his assailant, which probably was a highly traumatic experience for him. Hopefully there's more help available for him than there was for Mr. Culotti.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Pet store ravaged, small mammals killed

A local pet store & adoption shelter was broken into this past weekend. All the reptiles and some merchandise were stolen. The thieves weren't content with robbery, so they let loose the birds and smaller animals such as gerbils and mice, along with all 44 cats. Some of the small animals were stepped on intentionally, as their remains were flattened. Many of the surviving critters will need veterinary care. The store, Animal Talk, is a non-profit that also shelters and adopts out stray cats.

You can read King 5's report here, and the Seattle Times article here. You can send donations to Animal Talk Rescue, c/o Animal Talk, 6514 Roosevelt Way NE, Seattle WA 98115; or online at AnimalTalkRescue.org. I have.

If I believed in hell, there would be a special room reserved for these perpetrators.

BTW, there's a strong correlation between animal abuse and other forms of abuse such as domestic violence.

Another animal care organization I really like is Pasado's Safe Haven. They are offering a $2,500 reward for information leading to the arrest of the perpetrators: "Pasado's Safe Haven cruelty investigators believe there were at least two individuals involved in this crime. We hope that they brag about their crime. We've found perpetrators of animal cruelty may "talk" about what they did. And hopefully, someone will come forward based on our reward."

Friday, October 06, 2006

Violence against women begins at home

Today's New York Times reported on a comprehensive study by the World Health Organization, which found that women's greatest risk of assault comes from domestic violence. You can read the article here. Another good article, this one with more people interest, is published by FOXNews with WebMD.

The WHO study was published in this week's The Lancet (368:1260-9, 2006). Due to copyright law, I cannot publish the link to the whole article, but the summary is below:

Prevalence of intimate partner violence: findings from the WHO multi-country study on women’s health and domestic violence

Claudia Garcia-Moreno, Henrica AFM Jansen, Mary Ellsberg, Lori Heise, Charlotte H Watts, on behalf of the WHO Multi-country Study on Women’s Health and Domestic Violence against Women Study Team*

Summary:

Background: Violence against women is a serious human rights abuse and public health issue. Despite growing evidence of the size of the problem, current evidence comes largely from industrialised settings, and methodological diff erences limit the extent to which comparisons can be made between studies. We aimed to estimate the extent of physical and sexual intimate partner violence against women in 15 sites in ten countries: Bangladesh, Brazil, Ethiopia, Japan, Namibia, Peru, Samoa, Serbia and Montenegro, Thailand, and the United Republic of Tanzania.

Methods: Standardised population-based household surveys were done between 2000 and 2003. Women aged 15–49 years were interviewed and those who had ever had a male partner were asked in private about their experiences of physically and sexually violent and emotionally abusive acts.

Findings: 24 097 women completed interviews, with around 1500 interviews per site. The reported lifetime prevalence of physical or sexual partner violence, or both, varied from 15% to 71%, with two sites having a prevalence of less than 25%, seven between 25% and 50%, and six between 50% and 75%. Between 4% and 54% of respondents reported physical or sexual partner violence, or both, in the past year. Men who were more controlling were more likely to be violent against their partners. In all but one setting women were at far greater risk of physical or sexual violence by a partner than from violence by other people.

Interpretation: The findings confirm that physical and sexual partner violence against women is widespread. The variation in prevalence within and between settings highlights that this violence in not inevitable, and must be addressed.

Monday, October 02, 2006

"Parental Alienation" now legal tool of choice for batterers

According to the Sept 25, 2006 issue of Newsweek, a concept called "parental alienation" is now "the leading defense for parents accused of abuse in custody cases, according to domestic violence advocates. Conceived in the 1980s, parental alienation proposes that children fear or reject one parent because they've been corrupted by the other.

While it's commonly known that batterers use children to further abuse their partners, this tool give more teeth to the threat. It works in part because various parts of the judicial system do not communicate with each other, or judges decide that evidence of spousal abuse is irrelevant to custody cases. Or because there is little documented evidence--because if there was a report of spousal abuse, oftimes the abused spouse is further abused by the justice system when Child Protective Services take children away for failure to protect them from an abuser even though the abused partner took steps by reporting abuse.

The Newsweek article suggests that this tide may be slowly turning, as a few states begin to limit the use of parental alienation in cases involving domestic violence, and as the abused and their attorneys connect with each other across the country and craft legislation intended to tease out abuse of the law from real cases of parental alienation.

King County Sheriff Sue Rahr on Courage and Leadership - Podcast

Here's Sound Safety Podcast #2, Oct 1, 2006. King County Sheriff Sue Rahr addressed Seattle's Women's Business Exchange breakfast meeting on September 14. She spoke on courage and leadership, and how it applies to women business leaders. But it applies to all of us, and this podcast recounts a small portion of her presentation. This can be opened with QuickTime, RealPlayer, iTunes or other program that reads MP3 files.

Sound Safety 10-1-06

This is now available by subscription as an iTunes podcast. Search for Safety in Seattle News or Joanne Factor. If you subscribe, you'll get the latest issue downloaded to your computer automatically. Best, it's free! Subscribe today.