Saudi Feminist faces possible Execution

 Loujain Alhathlou, 28, of Saudi Arabia, is a well-known middle eastern women’s rights activist. In her homeland, women are barred from the simple act of driving a vehicle without a husband’s permission.  Referencing my book, “Global Human Trafficking in the Family Law courts”, I highlight ways in which men are treated unfairly in society, especially when it comes to finances, divorce, custody, social aspect, and military service requirements. While I often criticize feminism in the west, there is no argument that a moderate amount of feminism is certainly needed in the middle east.  While feminism was very apparent in the west during the 1960’s, 70’s, and 80’s, modern feminism in the west often appears to be overly aggressive. (witch hunting?)  However, in the middle east, women are still treated as if it were the middle ages.  Women in the west, especially feminists or anyone who calls themselves a human rights activist should support this brave woman who has put her life on the line to give women the basic right to live in society an enjoy simple privileges such as driving a car.   I encourage everyone to reach out to amnesty international in support of this young woman by emailing their directors at :  report@aiusa.org

Nalini-Global


Via Washington Post

It was just days before Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s March visit to the United States when Loujain al-Hathloul, one of Saudi Arabia’s most high profile feminists, was stopped by security officers as she drove on a highway near her university in Abu Dhabi.

The 28-year-old was taken from her vehicle and spirited away to her home country on a plane.

Hathloul spent several days in prison before being released, and she was banned from using social media or leaving the country as the Saudi heir apparent embarked on his marathon three-week public relations blitz in the United States, where he met with President Trump as well as Oprah Winfrey and others.

The activist’s rendition from the United Arab Emirates, where she was studying for a master’s degree, highlights the contradiction between Saudi Arabia’s public relations campaign touting reform and the reality on the ground for those asking for basic rights for women.

It also demonstrates the close cooperation between the UAE and Saudi Arabia, which together have promoted a model in the region that prioritizes stability and economic development while harshly suppressing political activism.

The details of Hathloul’s forced return were recounted by people with knowledge of the incident, who were granted anonymity because they fear reprisals. Authorities in Riyadh did not respond to requests for comment on Sunday.

The Post’s Loveday Morris visited a motorcycle driving school in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. For the first time, women there are learning how to ride motorcycles. 

Despite apparently complying with Saudi Arabia’s attempts to silence her — Hathloul’s last tweet to her 316,000 followers was on March 12 — she was arrested again last week in what appeared to be a particularly brutal crackdown on female activists in the kingdom.

A total of seven Saudis were detained — five women and two men who had supported their cause, including a lawyer who had represented Hathloul in the past. They were accused of crimes including “suspicious contact with foreign parties” and undermining the “security and stability” of Saudi Arabia, and they have been publicly vilified in pro-government media in what activists have described as a vicious smear campaign.

“Loujain should be celebrated now,” said Jamal Khashoggi, a prominent Saudi writer in self-imposed exile in the United States. “This is so unneeded right after the huge effort that MBS [Mohammed bin Salman] made in the United States, presenting himself as a reformer.”

Hathloul’s activism focused on women being allowed to drive and on ending the country’s restrictive male guardianship system, which meant women required permission from a male relative to access many government services.

The movement had some success and had appeared to be in step with Mohammed’s vision to modernize Saudi Arabia.

The kingdom granted women the right to drive last year and guardianship laws were eased. Women can now supposedly access government services and open businesses without a man’s permission, though in practice it is still often requested, women say. A guardian’s permission is still required for women to travel or marry.

But the kingdom’s inching reforms have come alongside a clampdown on activists, with an increasingly oppressive environment for those who call for changes. Human Rights Watch described it as having sparked a “frenzy of fear” for those genuinely engaged in reform.

“This arrest campaign is an arrest campaign against feminism in Saudi,” said one female activist who knows some of those detained. “Even the men who were arrested, they were with us.”

At 2:30 p.m. on May 15, Hathloul’s house was raided and she was arrested in her bedroom, according to Alqst, a Saudi human rights group based in London. She was taken to al-Hair prison, the group said, the same jail where she was held after she was seized in the United Arab Emirates. Those detained have since been transferred to Jiddah, according to human rights groups.

She’s no stranger to detention. Hathloul rose to prominence in 2014, when she got in her car in neighboring Abu Dhabi and tried to drive across the border to Saudi Arabia. She was arrested and referred to a terrorism court but was released before being tried after 73 days in detention.

The following year she stood in local council elections, after a royal decree allowed women to both vote and run for office. However, her name was never added to the ballot.

She was detained again in June 2017 after returning from a family visit to the United States.

Her activism has brought her international recognition. Last year she was photographed alongside actress Meghan Markle, who married Britain’s Prince Harry on Saturday, at a humanitarian summit in Canada. She was ranked 45th on a list of the most influential Arabs in the world by Arabian Business magazine last year.

But it has come at a cost. Saudi Arabia’s Okaz newspaper reported on Sunday that those arrested could face up to 20 years in jail. They have been publicly branded traitors by pro-government ­media.

Those detained span several generations of Saudi feminists.

Aziza al-Youssef, a professor at King Saud University, has been campaigning for women’s rights in Saudi Arabia for decades. When women signed a petition against the guardianship system, she took it to the royal palace.

Also detained was Aisha al-Mana, a 70-year-old who was among the first to challenge the driving ban, one of more than 40 women who drove in a convoy in Riyadh in 1990, along with ­Madeha al-Ajroush, a psychotherapist in her mid-60s, who is also now in detention.

“Loujain, Aziza and other activists who use their real identities are very brave,” said the Saudi activist, who has campaigned online anonymously. “They have very supportive families and nice lives but they chose to be the voice for us.”

Just hours after the announcement that the driving ban would be lifted in September, women who had campaigned for that right were called and asked to not comment publicly — even positively.

Speaking before the latest round of arrests, one female activist speculated that there could be an “old camp” trying to counter Mohammed’s reforms. Others disputed that, saying he has a complete grip on power.

“There is no old guard,” Khashoggi said. “He is in total control. What’s happening is unprecedented.” It doesn’t represent the “old” Saudi Arabia, he said, but the “new Saudi.”

Kareem Fahim in Istanbul contributed to this report.

This book is saving the lives of young men- Family Law Reform now!

 

Did you know that men make up over 80% of all successful suicides?

Did you know that 75% of the homeless population is made of us men? Most of whom have been through a divorce?

Did you know that men make up 93% of the prison population?

Did you know that men are usually granted harsher sentences than woman for the same crimes committed?

Did you know that men only win full custody of their children less than 10% of the time in divorce hearings?

Did you know that men pay over 90% of all child support orders whereas they face felony charges for getting behind?

Did you know that a man can be locked away for years for a false-allegation of rape even after he is proven innocent? (see the Brian Banks Case)

Did you know that the Federal Government gives the state governments $1 for every $1 they collect in child support via Title IVD of the Social Security Act (Conflict of Interest!)

Did you know that under Israel’s “Tender Years Law”, men are not entitled access to their children for the first 7 years of their life?

Do you know how to reduce your alimony or child support payments so that you don’t fall into a cycle of prison and job loss? — Hint, they will never tell you how in court! They hope you fail!

 

If you have a girlfriend, are thinking about getting married, are going through a divorce, have been through a divorce, or maybe you are a young man who is entering the world on his own for the first time…… YOU NEED THIS BOOK!

Or perhaps you are a woman who simply wants to understand the opposite gender. (If so, then kudos to you!).  While we should recognize the unique struggles of women, this book highlights the unique challenges that men face, something that is rarely spoken about in the media since they expect men to remain silent and stoic.

This book is actually not a book but a report that was submitted to the United Nations regarding corruption against men regarding family law and criminal law. The UN rejected my report, thus I have decided to publish certain portions of it. The report was originally 54 pages long which contained personal information. This published rendition contains portions of the report to which I think the public could greatly benefit from.

This book can literally save lives!

It can be purchased on amazon —HERE 

You can read it for free HERE  (I urge everyone, especially law-makers to read this report

The report can also be read for free on my “reports” page found on this website if you don’t have any money to spare. However, proceeds from the book purchases will go towards fighting for your rights!

It costs less than $10. The information in this book could literally save your life.  If you have a brother, father, or male friend, this book is a must. And for those woman out there who are sympathetic to male issues, we salute you in your efforts!

DEFAULT 50/50 CUSTODY WITH $0 CHILD SUPPORT: If it is later discovered that there will be a disparity in custody and financial support is needed, cap the amount at no more than 20% of his NET income and/or a cap of $1,000 per month per child. Custody should be discussed BEFORE finances. Why is there a child support enforcement agency but no visitation enforcement agency?  Women should not automatically be assumed to be the primary care-giver! Remove the money incentives!

BRING ACCOUNTABILITY:  If Child support is to be paid. the money should go on a card whereas purchases can be tracked and challenged. Rent, Food, light bills, school supplies, ect. However, using that money for vacations or personal gain shall be barred!

DECRIMINALIZE FAILURE TO PAY- (How is incarceration or suspending driver’s licenses going to help a man earn more money?)

GIVE MEN PARENTAL CHOICE:  – If women can abort why can’t men choose whether or not they want to be fathers?  Follow Sweden, create a financial abortion clause. Men have 9 weeks to decide whether or not they want to take responsibility just as women have the right choice with abortion.

STOP THE FALSE ALLEGATION:  False allegations of rape, abuse, or battery should be criminalized to the same extent as if the accused were guilty. Stop allowing women to get off free with black mail!  (See the Brian Banks NFL rape case)

END THE CORRUPT TITLE IVD FUNDING:  States are profiting from making men have higher than normal child support orders. For every $1 they collect, the federal government matches the amount!

CAP CHILD SUPPORT: Men and women should not be able to profit from child support. $1,000 per month per child should be the cap, regardless of how much money the non-custodial parent makes. A child certainly would not need more than that to survive and thrive.

ALLOW FOR CASES TO BE ENDED: Even with arrears being owed, a custodial parent shall have the right to dissolve the case completely at any time. This will foster better cooperation between parents.

EQUAL REPRESENTATION:  Both parties shall be represented with council. Since child support comes with so many criminal sanctions and financial burdens, the state has a vested interest to provide counsel for both custodial and non-custodial parents. Currently, only custodial parents receive free counsel.

JOB PROGRAMS: Studies show that men who make atleast $42,000 per year almost never miss child support payments. Create job programs to help payers reach the national medium income.

END THE BRADLEY AMENDMENT OF 1986: This disregards a person’s ability to pay and forces them into prison. Being deployed in war? Get into a car wreck and become disabled? Doesn’t matter! The Bradley Amendment says you must pay or go to prison!

END FELONY CHARGES UNDER THE “Parental Responsibility Act” – This law says that a man/woman who falls behind more than $2,500 dollars can face felony charges. This can ruin a person’s job prospects indefinitely. Considering that most Americans live paycheck to paycheck, falling behind is easier than ever.

Effects:  Men are more likely to commit suicide after divorce due to financial uncertainty and emotional baggage from being alienated from his children. Children who grow up with strong figures are 7 times more likely to commit violent crimes in the future.

USE SAME-SEX MARRIAGE AS A JUDGEMENT MODEL : In same-sex divorce cases, custody must be given based on merit, not on gender. While 50/50 custody should be the default, full custody should only be given based on merits alone.

GLOBAL EPIDEMIC:  Germany, Japan, Israel, Canada— These atrocious laws are effecting people (mostly men) all over the globe. In our pursuits for stronger rights for women, we have totally discarded the feelings and contributions of men and their important role in our family society.

 

FATHER KILLS HIMSELF DUE TO CRIPPLING CHILD SUPPORT AND ALIMONY

 

 

 

-Randell D Stroud

 

How to settle Legal Matters- A basic guide for Newbies

 

“Money makes the world spin”.  It’s a phrase that we all know very well. Credit cards, alimony, child-support, mortgages, student loans, business loans, ….with a current 19 Trillion debt, the United States and its citizens are buried in financial problems.  But, there is one thing that most of these aforementioned debts have in common, they can usually be mitigated with “settlements” and/or negotiations. However, in this article I will focus on basic lawsuits and criminal cases.

When we hear the word, “Settlement”, images of money are immediately conjured into our minds.  Most of the settlements we hear about in the media are for large sums, anywhere from $50K to millions of dollars, often involving celebrities or powerful business moguls.  Many people might ask, “If a party knows they are innocent, then why would they agree to settle the case?”

People settle cases for all kinds of reasons.

  1. Save on lawyer expenses
  2.  Avoid public attention
  3.  Reduce stress/Time in court
  4.  Reduce risks of harsher sanctions from potentially losing in a trial.

Defendants often settle criminal cases for “plea” bargains. (An admittance of guilt in exchange for a lighter punishment) for similar reasons that defendants agree to settle in civil cases.

Nobody likes being in court! It is costly, time consuming, stressful and can be somewhat intimidating. Whether you are being sued for a credit card debt or facing criminal charges, the potential of being garnished, put in jail, missing time away from work and family, the presence of armed guards, black robed judges, ect…. the entire process can be a bit frightening, especially for those who do not spend much time in the courts. (Which is usually most people unless you are a legal professional, police officer, or a habitual criminal.)

When we decide to settle a case, we have to weigh our options. Defendants and Plaintiffs settle for the same reasons believe it or not. If a defendant believes he has a weak defense or is simply fed up with the court process, he is likely to settle, if a plaintiff believes he has a weak argument or he is fed up with the court process, he is likely to settle. Time is money, and people do not like to have their’s wasted!

In essence, settlements happen when people come to a conclusion after assessing in their minds a “cost-benefit-analysis”.  Let us take a look at the perspective from a defendant and plaintiff’s point of view in a hypothetical discrimination case.

John sues Corporation-Z for racial discrimination.  John has several witnesses who have agreed to testify. Corporation-Z learns that these witnesses with be participating. Corporation-Z believes that John has a good chance at defeating them in court. Corp-Z offers John $10,000 to settle the case out of court. If John were to win the case in court, he would probably sue for much more in damages, however, if John takes the offer, he can save himself attorney fees and months (possibly years) going to court cases.

Although Corp-Z is in a disadvantageous position, they are well-funded and will be able to drag the case on for a long time. John is a simple 9 to 5 employee with very little resources. However, John feels that he has strong evidence and is unwilling to settle for $10,000, he refuses the offer and decides to see it through to the end. Corp-Z offers another amount for $15,000, John still refuses.

Corp-Z files several continuances to drag out the case. John is getting tired.

John later finds out that several of his key witnesses have decided not to testify. John is now getting worried. Corp-Z has not yet learned that the witnesses have backed out. The next court date is in 6 weeks. John must act fast! Due to these new circumstances, his chances to win the case have gotten much lower.

At this point, John has several options:

  1. Contact the defendant and accept their $15,000 settlement offer
  2.  Send the defendant one last counter offer for a higher amount before agreeing to settle.
  3.  Rebuild his case, look for new evidence, take the case to trial and potentially win big or end up with nothing if he loses.

Option 1 is the safest–  Defendants and Plaintiffs have the option to offer and/or withdraw settlement offers at ANY TIME. In this scenario, the defendant, Corp-Z is likely to accept to settle unless new evidence has been obtained.

Option 2 is a little risky–  In this situation, John has learned that his witnesses are refusing to testify. Corp-Z has not yet found out, however, if they do find out, they are very likely to withdraw any offers to settle, as they will be likely to defeat the suit. John can attempt to negotiate one last time to get a higher amount from the defendant, but it will take some time to sort out the particulars, and time is something John doesn’t have with a looming court date. The closer the trial date gets, the more likely the defendant is to find out about the witnesses backing out.

Option 3 is highly risky– If the case goes to a trial by jury and John has other evidence besides witness testimony, the jury could still see it his way. If his witnesses are his key pieces of evidence, then he is at high risk for losing. This option would require very careful consideration. If John wins the case through jury, he will likely receive a huge pay-out, if he loses the case, he could end up losing everything or even end up being counter-sued by Corporation-Z.

Factors to consider:

Is John poor? How bad does he need money? If he loses the case, will he still be financially sound? Is he looking for justice or a pay-out? What are his goals in this lawsuit? Is he mentally and emotionally prepared to stay in court for several more months?  These are questions John has to ask himself before making a decision on how to proceed.

 

From the Defendant’s perspective:

Corporation-Z is a business and they have a business to run. Handling these legal matters are a huge cost and burden on the operation. Negative publicity can also hurt the business extensively.  Even if Corporation-Z discovers that the plaintiff, John, has lost his key witnesses, it still may be beneficial for Corporation-Z to settle. Typically, when settlements occur, non-disclosure agreements must be signed stating that the allegations against the company cannot be publicly discussed.  If Corp-Z refuses to settle and defeats John, John may still end up retaining his right to discuss the trial and his allegations to public organizations causing bad press not to mention the extra legal fees it may take to try and sue John later for defamation.

In this situation, if Corp-Z discovers that John has lost his witnesses, Corp-Z can agree to settle, for the same amount previously offered or for a lower amount, (since Z now has bargaining power!) or Corp-Z can withdraw all offers and attempt to win in trial.

Corporate attorneys are famous for their slogan to , “Always settle, settle, settle”.

While Corporation-Z has a good chance at defeating John, they may end up spending triple the amount of their settlement offer attempting to defeat the suit, also, Corporation-Z isn’t fully aware if John has any other additional evidence that is not yet known.  Victory is not always guaranteed. In court, just as in a boxing match, the ability to appear weak when one is strong, and the ability to appear strong when one is weak, is very crucial in the negotiation process of settling a case.

Timing:

Losing a lawsuit that goes to trial can result in dire consequences.

  1. Income garnishments
  2.  Loss of employment as a result of being garnished by multiple entities
  3. Loss of public reputation
  4. property being seized
  5. injunctions being placed against yourself or your business
  6. liens being places on your assets
  7. Tax refunds being withheld
  8.  Negative credit score

(These are just a few examples)

Some may be tempted to file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy in light of being sued for a debt, however, I wouldn’t recommend doing so unless your debts exceed $10,000. I’ll save that discussion for another article.

Timing is very critical when it comes to successfully mitigating a civil or criminal case. Let’s say you owe a credit card company $10,000.  Typically, after you default on your loan for more than 90 days, the credit card company will likely sell your debt to a third party collector. A few months to a year later, you are likely to be served with a warrant stating that you are being sued for the amount by the third party debt collector who purchased the debt for pennies on the dollar.

Once the lawsuit is filed, the creditor now has the upper-hand. Since you have essentially ignored all attempts to collect, it is assumed that you are avoiding the debt and do not have the means to pay it back. A smarter decision would have been to inquire about hardship programs or attempt to settle the debt with a partial amount before you were sued. (Always get everything in writing).  However, since things have escalated to a court hearing, the creditor now probably believes that they have a great chance to win the case.

When most people owe a debt, they stick their heads in the sand and do nothing. If you are sued for a credit card debt, your goal now is to re-establish your bargaining power! Even if you owe the debt, make them prove it! File an answer to the lawsuit, file a discovery request, ask for continuances! ( I can help you do these things by offering a template to follow.) Once the creditor sees that you aren’t going to be like the other 99% of people who don’t show up to court and allow for a default judgement, the creditor will be likely willing to settle the debt for a fraction of what they are suing you for.

While you are fighting the lawsuit, whether your intention is to get it dismissed through lack of evidence,lack of itemization or your goal is to settle the debt for a lesser amount, you must act swiftly! If you do intend to settle the debt, be sure to make the number attractive but not too high. If you owe $10,000, offer them 30%, because they are likely to counter back asking for 50%.

If the creditor is not willing to settle and/or you lose the case, enroll in a “slow-pay” program. That’s right! If you lose a lawsuit, you can enroll in a “slow-pay” program whereas you may only be paying $20 a month or so to the creditor. (Albeit for a very long time!).  Through the slow-pay process, you can pay with a check or money order. In order for the plaintiff (or creditor) to garnish your wages, they have to get an approved garnishment order from a court. If you miss a single-payment through the slow-pay program, some jurisdictions automatically issue a garnishment order because of your lack of ability to keep your promise to pay.

Federal law protects workers from being fired if they are being garnished by a single entity. However, if two or more entities are garnishing you, federal law allows employers to fire you because of the administrative burden your garnishment orders are costing to the company you work for.

Any legal case must be taken seriously whether it be criminal or civil. Even traffic court can cost us! If you ignore a traffic ticket, don’t be surprised if you later find out that your drivers license has been revoked! Reinstating a revoked license is time consuming and can cost hundreds, even thousands, depending on the liens placed upon the license.

In many criminal cases, district attorneys will offer “plea deals”. This “deal” is basically where you agree to admit guilt in exchange for a lighter punishment. Plea deals can benefit both parties. The district attorney meets his conviction quota, you receive a lighter sentence than you would if you lost your trial, and the process of court is sped up.

Going back to the lessons we learned earlier about, “Appearing strong when you are weak, and to be weak when you are strong”, accepting plea deals is an art within itself just as accepting settlements are.

Example:

John is accused of stealing a car. John maintains that he is innocent.

John’s witnesses didn’t show up to court.

The state offers him a plea deal.  Admit guilt and you will only face 6 months in jail.

John refuses! The trial continues

The state is having a hard time presenting evidence against John.

The state offers a new plea deal.

“1 month in jail with 6 months probation.”

John again refuses and demands a jury.

The jury hears John’s defense and the state’s allegations against him.

The jury decides that John is guilty! John will be sentenced to 3 years in prison.

John should have taken the plea deal!

Now, this is a worse case scenario! Just as in our lawsuit example earlier with, “Corporation-Z”, many factors come into play.

Let us replay the scenario. This time, John has several alibis and video surveillance of the vehicle being stolen that he managed to find on the internet. The video is low-quality but the suspect appears to have red-hair, John has brown hair!

John challenges the state’s claim. The state claims that John merely dyed his hair brown and his alibis are lying about where he was during the alleged carjacking!

John is confident in his defense and refuses all plea deals.

The jury finds John innocent!

Had John taken a plea deal, he would have ruined his record and served time for a crime he never committed! However, the jury could have still convicted him. No matter how confident you feel in your case, always prepare for the unexpected and don’t be afraid to appeal if necessary to buy yourself more time.

When to refuse a plea deal or when to take one, is no different than debating on whether or not to take a settlement. Many innocent men and women have taken plea deals for crimes they didn’t commit on the advice of their attorney who advised their client that the evidence is just too strong against them; even though they maintain their innocence.

Some defendants value their honor so much, that they resolve to never take a plea deal regardless of the consequences, whereas others make informed decisions in an effort to preserve themselves. In law, there is no “black or white”, “right or wrong” choice. Everything is about weighing risks vs rewards.  Every situation is completely different.

Who is the judge presiding over this case? Who are the jurors? What state is this case being held in? What do the state laws say? Are you in a liberal state or a conservative state? Does your lawyer have a good reputation or a bad reputation? Are you handling this case pro-se? Do you have any experience with legal matters?

These are all questions that can drastically effect the outcome of a case, or as I call them , “The intangible factors”.  In your heart, you may know that you are innocent, or feel that your case is valid, however, it isn’t always about what you “feel”, it’s about what you can convincingly present to the courts in conjunction with applicability of the law.

If you are involved in a lawsuit or criminal case as either a plaintiff or defendant, be sure to check out our “Legal Services” page.  Our programs there offer legal defense funds for people starting as low as $20 per month with unlimited consultations with licensed attorneys.  If you want to consult with me personally, follow instructions on my Consulting Page .  I can offer you one-time friendly advice, educational lessons, templates, and other resources to you, however I cannot offer you legal advice as I am not a licensed attorney, thus, anything I advise you on will have to be taken as “friendly” advice, not legal advice.  I have been working in the legal-field as paralegal/researcher for about 7 years and have experience in various jurisdictions and areas of law.

feel free to contact me Naliniglobal@yahoo.com 

 

Copywrite 2017- NaliniGlobal

Randell Stroud

 

Kentucky Police Department tests the 4th Amendment

To: Paducah Police Chief, Brandon Barnhill-  bbarnhill@paducahky.gov

From: Nalini-Global- Naliniglobal@yahoo.com 

The Paducah Police Department of Kentucky has recently launched a new initiative known as the, “Lock it or Lose it” campaign. Officers will now be encouraged to conduct sweeps around the city to check vehicles parked on public property, to see if they are properly locked and/or if valuables are in plain-view. If the vehicle is found to be unlocked and unattended by the owner, the officer will run the license plate and make attempts to reach the owner of the vehicle by telephone. If the officer cannot make contact, the officer will place a door hanger on the owner’s registered home address linked to the license plate. The informational door hanger will contain a warning to keep their vehicle properly locked up.

Officers who come across vehicles that are properly locked, will leave a “Thank you” card on the windshield of the vehicle. On the back of the card, a survey can be completed and mailed to the Paducah Police Department. Those who fill out the survey are automatically entered into a drawing contest to win prizes.  Officer Christopher Fearon recently spoke on a local Television program called “The Paducah View“, promoting the initiative stating that , “….Paducah is a safe town to live in, and sometimes people gain a false sense of security because of that.”   The initiative is not a nation-wide federal mandate, however, other cities and states have launched similar programs such as the “Lock it or Lose it” program launched in Lakeland,Florida last year. The Lakeland Police Department uses even more invasive tactics such as placing a bright orange cone on the top of an unlocked vehicle and leaving “lock it or leave it” brochures inside of the vehicle in order to send a “wake up” message to the car owner to lock up his/her valuables.

According to an article written by the West Kentucky Star, Officer Fearon states that, “……the Paducah Police Department will not leave warning hangers on the car itself nor will they open the car doors.” However, there is a million dollar question that comes with such a statement.

How can you know if a car is unlocked unless you try to open it?

On the surface, such a program may seem innocent or even well-intended. To be honest, it probably is well intended. Some may jump to conspiracy theories about, “Big Brother is Watching”, or claim that there is some secret agenda, yet, I believe it is simply a plan that is not well-thought out albeit well intended.

I have two problems with this initiative.

  1. A potential breach of the 4th Amendment
  2.  An abuse of power 

For an officer to make contact with a person or his property, there generally has to be “probable cause” or “Reasonable Suspicion”. “Probable cause” is a principle that is highly debated, especially with practices such as the “Terry Stop” being the norm these days.  A “Terry Stop”, is more a less an officer’s legal right to stop someone for questioning if the subject is doing something “suspicious” but is not engaging in a blatant activity that warrants probable cause for arrest or seizure of property.

Looking at the “Lock it or Lose It” program, I can see many pitfalls with this well-intended program.

Under the 4th Amendment of the United States Constitution, a private individual has the right to be secure in his possessions and maintain his privacy. This includes his home, his personal belongings, his e-mails, text messages, and yes……his vehicle! If an officer wants to enter the home of a citizen, search a vehicle, or seize property, he must obtain a warrant signed from a judge or the subject must voluntarily consent.

If an officer routinely approached your house, unwarranted, and began to “jiggle” the locks on your door to make sure they are “secured”, would you feel safer or violated? If your answer is “violated”, then you are probably not a supporter of this initiative. Or at least you shouldn’t be.   In order for an officer to determine whether or not a vehicle is locked, unless the door is left wide-open, the officer will have to physically attempt to open the door of the vehicle. The Paducah Police Department claims that they will not open doors, but how else could they test whether or not a car door is locked?

If this program becomes the norm around the nation, citizens will begin to develop a false-sense of trust for law enforcement officers who “check” their locks. While I believe most officers have good hearts and truly want to protect their communities, who is to say that this program wouldn’t be alluring to an officer who may be inclined to use this program to conduct full on searches or to plant evidence illegally? This type of program could create a curtain for abuse of power and make it easier for law enforcement to target citizens or to obtain an arrest and/or conviction.

If my car is stolen, or my valuables are taken because of my own negligence, I have no one to blame but myself and the person who lacks the moral aptitude to refrain from stealing.  Our local police are already burdened with investigators looking to track down murderers, pedophiles, rapists, and other violent criminals.  We cannot expect law enforcement to protect us 24/7 unless we all agreed to live in a militarized police-state where our every action, thought, and movement were all being recorded or monitored.

With the rise of the TSA, Terrorist threats and the controversy surrounding the “NSA Spy Program” leaked by former intelligence officer Edward Snowden, many Americans look at this program with the same question that has plagued us all since September 11th, 2001.

“How do we balance security while respecting our individual liberty and privacy?”

The police and military have a job to do. Their #1 duty is to protect the life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness of their fellow residents and citizens. Their job is not to make sure we button up our shirts correctly, brush our teeth every morning, or lock our cars when we run inside the grocery store to purchase a loaf of bread.

Not only is this program disrespecting the 4th amendment of the Constitution, but it is also creating unnecessary, “Busy Work” for police officers who could be applying their time and resources towards tackling and solving crimes that are actually taking place or have already taken place.  From a tax burden issue, who will pay for these informational cards to be printed up? What will be the administrative cost of this program a year from now?  How many man hours will be dedicated to this program? These, among other issues, certainly need to be addressed before further implementation of this program continues.

What are your thoughts? Should the program be discontinued, altered, or do you see it as perfectly innocent?

Let me know at, NaliniGlobal@yahoo.com

Thank you,

With love and honor

Randell D Stroud,

Founder of Nalini-Global

2017

(To be Submitted)

The Importance of Cultural Immersion

Unlike most of my peers, I grew up in a very diverse environment. Being a Caucasian male, most people would view me as being a part of the “majority”. Alas, in my hometown of Nashville,Tn, I grew up in Inglewood, an area where Caucasians are the minority. My Wushu (Kung Fu) teacher was from Indonesia.  My best friends were from Cambodia and the kids at my lunch table who taught me how to unleash poetic rap verses were mostly African-American.

My mother and aunt were born in Germany. My girlfriend in tech-school was Chinese. My co-workers at my first professional job working with the Dell corporation were mainly Muslim refugees from Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt. One of my first boxing students was from India who frequently invited me to events at the Hindu temple he attended services at. Needless to say, being around different types of cultures doesn’t bother or make me feel uncomfortable,in fact, I thrive on it! The notion of , “Birds of the same feather, flock together”, isn’t unfounded.

If you grew up in Japan, you probably feel comfortable being around Japanese people. If your skin is white, and your family is white, you probably feel comfortable being around those who look the same as you or share some kind of cultural similarity. It isn’t racist or bigoted to feel comfortable around those who look and believe as you do and it isn’t bigoted to feel uncomfortable around those who look different or believe different as you do…although it does say something about our world-view and experiences. (or lack thereof)

If you are not privileged enough to live a life that allows you to travel the world or take vacations outside of your hometown, do not fret! There is a way to become cultured without having to fork over thousands of dollars for plane tickets, hotels, and passports. You could joint the Army (Pray that you don’t get sent to Iraq), Join the Peace-Corps (Can you commit to two years, do you have a BA degree?), go on a religious mission….. what if none of these appeal to you. There is one last resort.

Live vicariously through other people!

Is there a Mosque in your neighborhood? Go visit! Attend a service! Do you see a foreign co-worker who sits alone and eats his/her lunch? Talk to them, get to know them, perhaps they can teach you their language or invite you to meet their family. Are you a Christian? Well, most Koreans are too! Visit a Korean church service and get to know the Korean community in your neighborhood. But, how do we approach foreigners?

It can sometimes be awkward, but with the power of Google, we can overcome such awkwardness through the power of language! By simply learning a few phrases of another language, you can instantly bridge gaps between yourself and foreigners!

I remember working as an office manager for a huge retail chain whereas we frequently has foreign customers. One time an Egyptian man comes through and is very upset that his product failed him in such a short time. He was irate! I asked him to calm down, (which he did), after he got silent, I said, “Shukran” (which means “Thank you” in Arabic). He began to smile, and he said, “You know my language!?”, I responded, “Only a few words”, and I smiled back. The entire tone of the conversation switched from negative to positive. The customer left the store happy and we resolved the situation. Even if we cannot afford or have the opportunity to travel the world, we can live vicariously through the experiences of our foreign neighbors. My Christian friends often remind me of a Bible verse, “Leviticus 19:34” – which commands us to treat foreigners as if they were our own family.

     
 (Venerable Sokham and I during Khmai New Year)

 

Last month, I was invited to attend a New Years party at a Khmer Buddhist Temple. In the Cambodian tradition, the New Year falls in the month of April, not January, as they operate on a different calendar. During this party, I had some interesting conversations with the head monk who goes by the name, “Mr.Sokham” or “Venerable Sokham”. We discussed Khmer Horoscopes, Karma, and other things related to Cambodian cultural norms. Two weeks later, I found myself attending an ordination ceremony of a newly certified monk at a Thai temple.

(Thai ordination festival)

During these events, I often have those “eureka” moments. I look around and realize, “Hey! I am the only white guy here!” Foreigners often form close knit groups who have insecurities towards native citizens such as myself. They fear they we look down upon them or we secretly want them to be deported. However, I have learned that once you earn their trust and show an interest in their culture, they will quickly adopt you as if you were an unofficial family member. During my time with Muslim refugees, Cambodian monks, Chinese law students, Hindu Clerics, so and so forth, I have never felt out of place but very welcomed because of these principles.

Our relationship with foreigners only becomes awkward when we approach them in fear. Like animals, we humans also pick up on negative vibes. If you come with arms wide-open, and a mind that extends even further, you will enrich your knowledge of how the world works. When you have an interaction with someone who is from another country, think of it as if you get to travel to their country free of charge! If you want to visit Korea, make friends with a Korean. If you want to visit Brazil, make friends with a Brazilian. If you want to smell the foods of Thailand, become friends with a Thai!

Lastly, after spending time with various different cultures, soon you find your own sense of identity began to change. I used to frequently identify myself as a “German”. And I was proud of my heritage. I still am in many ways. “Danke!” (Thank you in German).

However, after making friends with so many people from around the world, I now identify with my Humanity more than I do with my German ancestry or my American citizenship. Although those things are still very important to my character and function in society, I will never let it outshine my humanity and the qualities that are unable to be differentiated from any other person. Qualities such as compassion, a desire for food, shelter, love, and the universal challenges that face every human being, challenges like finding a job, overcoming health issues, and finding that special someone to share your life with.

At 29 years old, I’ve learned that the culture of man supersedes the culture of a nation. Yet, we cannot understand humanity as a whole until we experience the individual parts that make up that whole. Where I go next is anybody’s guess, but you can bet that it will be an adventure worth mentioning!

NALINI GLOBAL – 2017