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Oppose Your Enemies, or Look for Common Ground? »

On a few occasions I’ve used my privilege as a blogger on The Beacon to write in support of viewpoints held by people that some readers of The Beacon view as the opposition. For examples, I supported the Black Lives Matter movement for protesting police brutality, and more recently, the Resist! movement for opposing...
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Another Shooting in a “Gun Free” Zone »

The tragic shooting at the Fort Lauderdale airport on January 6 occurred in a “gun-free” zone. Florida is one of six states that make it illegal for individuals—even those who have concealed carry permits—to carry guns in any part of an airport terminal. The killer’s motive is at this point undetermined, but he did...
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Black Lives Matter »

My initial reaction to the Black Lives Matter movement, like many old white guys, was that All Lives Matter. But recent events have changed my thinking on this. My old thinking: Racial discrimination is a reality, but race is just one of many personal characteristics on which people discriminate. Good-looking people tend to be...
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Apple vs. the FBI: Three Reasons to Side with Apple »

When the story about the FBI wanting Apple to provide it with software to unlock the phone of the San Bernardino killers came out, I considered blogging about it but decided against it. The case was too clearly in Apple’s favor, I thought. Nobody would side with the government. But now I see that...
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Asset Forfeiture and Police Corruption »

Alabama Justice Project recently accused a state police department of systematic corruption. They claim around a dozen members of a police narcotics team planted drugs, weapons, and other evidence against black suspects. Moreover, it’s been alleged that the district attorney covered up these crimes. The documents they published show that, beginning in 1996, the Dothan...
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Police Take More Property from People than Burglars »

Most readers of The Beacon are probably familiar with the rise in civil asset forfeiture, which gives police the power to seize property they claim was used in criminal activity, often without accusing the property owner of a crime. They don’t have to. It’s up to property owners to prove they are innocent to...
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Right Problem; Wrong Solution. Obama’s Push for Reduced Prison Sentences »

President Obama is pushing for reductions in prison sentences for non-violent drug offenders. As this article notes, the federal prison population is more than eight times higher today than in 1980, before the Reagan administration’s War on Drugs. The United States has a larger share of its population behind bars than any other nation...
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Actuary Hands Gift to Pension Reformers »

The actuarial firm Cheiron recently projected the future yearly pension costs for San Jose’s police and firefighter pension plan. Cheiron wrote: In the worst scenarios, the City’s aggregate contribution rate can exceed 110 percent of payroll. In the best scenarios, the City’s Tier 1 rate can drop to 0 percent, leaving a relatively small...
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Comply or Die – Trends in Modern Policing »

Every time a police officer is killed in the line of duty, it makes local, if not national headlines. Though always shocking, the number of law enforcement fatalities has remained fairly steady over the years. According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, 165 police officers were killed in the line of duty...
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University Responsibility for Sexual Assault »

“The Hunting Ground,” a movie about sexual assault at major universities, supports the argument that universities are not doing enough to respond to accusations about sexual assault by their students. The article hits close to home for me because, as a faculty member at Florida State University, my university is one of the ones...
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