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Discussion: How to combat crime

Despite what some “statistics” published about various cities/parishes/states in the North America and the Caribbean, violent and disturbing crimes appear to be on the rise. Murder, rapes, targeting, kidnapping, school shootings, workplace shootings, drive-by-shootings, police shooting of the unarmed, home invasions, and so on. Understand that violent crimes have increased in other parts of the world other than North America and the Caribbean but we will focus on those closer to home.  You see, I am of Caribbean descent and live in the United States of America.

Why should criminals continue to make us feel helpless?

It is really sad and depressing how helpless one can feel when one hears of returning citizens and retirees being robbed and brutally murdered in Jamaica, kids and families kidnapped and brutally murdered in Trinidad & Tobago, school, workplace, and church shootings in the USA, and others… yet nothing gets done or whatever is attempted does not work. Many times we get lip service from the authorities and government. Some times we know what they “decide to try” is just to pacify their voters because there is no chance the plan(s) would ever work. There are lots of games being played by politicians (henceforth referred to as “poli-tricksters” in this piece) in North America and the Caribbean nations.  Some may even mean well but, because they or their loved ones are not affected by some of these crimes, they often ignore or pass bad policies.  To the politicians we say, “Come walk a mile in our shoes.”  To the criminals we say, “Unlike current poli-tricksters, we the citizens are starting to think and you have been put on notice.”  Your actions will have to stop…. and, unlike you, fed-up citizens will not break the law to get you to curtail your behaviors… We will be using our brains, common sense, and collaboration.

Children and families at risk

Our children are at risk of being murdered by insane gun-wielding psychopaths in school… and it gets worse because poli-tricksters continue to play poli-tricks. People are less safe on the streets (road rage, crazy and drunk drivers) and at work… Well, certainly they’re safer at home? Nope! Increases in home invasions, break-ins, criminals impersonating delivery/service persons or civil servants, clowns and idiots and drugged out individuals firing weapons during holiday celebrations along with the fireworks. I mean, that is just a small example of the madness that has to stop.

Why the increase?

But, what is the reason or reasons for all this madness and violence? I know that I have heard many reasons, some of which I agree with. Below’s a subset of  what I have heard. Can the increase in violent crimes be due to one, some, many, or all of the following and then some?

1. poor education – not exact but people with less education make less per capita. Obviously, there are exceptions and outliers and the poor neighborhoods are most victimized, sometimes by their own, sometimes by gangs, sometimes by law-enforcement officers.

2. far left and/or far right poli-tricksters

3. racism – people of ruling ethnicity despising and “hating on” others

4. other hate crimes – “throwing shade” on others to the point that it leads to violence or retaliation

5. lack of love for humanity – vanity and no love for humanity means one can lead to violence, If you love me, you won’t steal from me, lie about me, take my spouse, you won’t break into my house, you won’t try to physically harm me.

6. greed – criminals feel that what you have, they deserve to have, even at the cost of your life. Some of these criminals are your own relatives and friends, including people you send may even help out financially already.

7. recreational drugs and alcohol abuse – rampant and cause people to hallucinate, become dark, resort to violence

8. prescription drug abuse

9. separation from The Almighty – less and less people believe in a Creator much less a Creator’s expectation from humanity

10. black people – victimization and/or playing the victim

11. white people – oppressors and/or being oppressed

13. other people other than black or white people – not respected or seen as relevant

14. mental instability

15. violent video games – people, starting from an early age, spend too much time playing these games and so they have issues differentiating reality from game.

16. violent movies and TV shows – line between terrorist and terrorized, criminals and victims, law breakers and law enforcers is blurred and sometimes the criminals are the stars.

17. glorification of weapons, particularly the gun

18. feeling of empowerment when”strapped” with a weapon

19. tail wagging the dog – children rule households and parents not allowed to discipline.

20. mankind have given up their “birthright” to the devil (dark forces).

21. fake news and “reality” TV

22. disruption of elections by unscrupulous persons or systems within a country or without.

Potential Solutions

1. poor education – get public and private investors to invest in children K-12; get volunteers to tutor kids and help with reading, mathematics, and home work IN school after regular classes –those volunteers have to be vetted and supervised.

2. far left and/or far right poli-tricksters – don’t vote for OR vote out extreme right and extreme left poli-tricksters and those who propagate hatred and build up enmity among citizens, immigrants, and neighboring countries, or force everything goes type of attitude

3. racism – similar to #1 but educating people that we are all one race and a city divided cannot stand so it’s best to love each other.

4. other hate crimes – same as #3

5. lack of love for humanity – same as #3.

6. greed – education

7. recreational drugs and alcohol abuse – education

8. prescription drugs abuse – education and counselling

9. separation from The Almighty – stop blocking God and stop forcing God… Let people who believe in God be able to worship freely.

10. black people – bleaching is not the answer.  education of people (including other black people) who think black people is the problem

11. white people – tanning or burning int he sun is not the answer – education about history and what a united front can do

13. other people other than black or white people – education

14. mental instability – not sure why there is a rise here… the food?  the drugs?  the hard drugs?  the hormones? the fact that kids are not well-rounded and don’t get out to play anymore, instead it’s all about Instagram, Snapchat, FaceBook, cell phones, video games… Parents and schools should encourage outdoor activities and other activities not using any of those social-media or video games.

15. violent video games – same as #14.

16. violent movies and TV shows – same as #14

17. glorification of weapons, particularly the gun

18. feeling of empowerment when”strapped” with a weapon – I don’t begrudge people with their weapons but it is not too late to do background checks to prevent homes with mentally unstable or violent individuals from having weapons and disallow non-service members from taking weapons into buildings.

19. tail wagging the dog – children rule households and parents are not allowed to discipline them – allow parents to discipline their children NOT abuse them.

20. mankind have given up their “birthright” to the devil (dark forces). – this is biblical but the darkness in humanity is so widespread that, first, we have to return to God and the teachings of the “perfect law” (ten commandments) of liberty.

21. fake news and “reality” TV – this just brings out what is already inside people so education is the key. Verify what you see but, before that, educate people against major biases that exist in pockets of society and within schools. Schools populated by extreme left or extreme right administration influence the students much more than we think. Parents do some research and do not send your children to these schools. Also, extreme left (e.g. MSNBC) and extreme right (e.g.Fox News) tend to intentionally brainwash their sheeple. Watch more politically neutral stations if you can find them.

22. disruption of elections by unscrupulous persons or systems within a country or without. – increase awareness

Discuss

I hope I didn’t come off too preachy… because I don’t want to be seen as a rose-colored glasses-wearing individual standing on my soapbox seated on a high horse.

Do you agree with any of the points / reasons listed? If so, which ones?

Do you have any other reasons to add?

Either way, the current methods are NOT working, so let’s have a discussion on how we can combat this increase in crime?

Five murdered in mass shooting in Annapolis, Maryland,USA

Five (5) journalists were brutally murdered and others injured in apparent targeted mass shooting at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland, USA. The alleged shooter was taken into custody by the police.

One of the dead had ties to South Florida.

This is total and utter madness. People who commit these and acts have to be insane or being lead by alternate or virtual reality. A sane person with compassion would not commit such terrible and senseless acts.

We pray for the families, coworkers, and friends of the victims.

Will the US politicians just talk and play politics or will they put themselves in the shoes of the loved ones of of the deceased, come up with a plan and act? Even one life saved is precious.

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? – Jeremiah 17:9

For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornication and murders. – Mark 7:21

A good man out of the good treasure of the heart brings good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings evil things. – Matthew 12:35

CAN, MEX, USA hosts 2026 World Cup Finals; 48 teams instead of 32

The USA, Canada, and Mexico won the bid for the 2026 World Cup [finals] over Morocco. This means all 3 teams get a “bye” (automatic bid). With the number of teams also increasing from 32 to 48, it means CONCACAF, the federation from which those teams come, will get those 6 spots (3 automatic and 3 more).

Big questions?

  1. Will USA still be “friends” with Canada and Mexico at that point?
  2. Can Jamaica and T&T cement themselves into 2026 with more opportunities?
  3. How about other countries from the Caribbean?

It would be nice, if I am alive and well, to see 2 or 3 Caribbean teams into a World Cup finals… for real.

One can dream…

The Cryptocurrency Craze

Twenty-Seventeen (2017), particularly the 2nd half of 2017, saw a cryptocurrency (crypto currency) craze akin to the stock and penny stock crazy of 1999 – 2001.  The similarities are numerous.  The hype and resulting frenzy have been so huge that I see it daily on TV, on the Internet, and with coworkers. I even get non-computer relatives and bredren (friends) asking me about “bitcoin”.  Unfortunately, I don’t know a lot. I know the basics (the 10,000 foot level) and will I’ll attempt to articulate that, supported by a bit of research, here.

Cryptocurrency

At the risk of losing meaning due to oversimplification, I’ll first summarize what the so-called “cryptocurrency” is. A  cryptocurrency (crypto currency), sometimes referred to as a cryptocoin :

  • is ‘digital asset (currency) so there is no physical “money” or “coin” even when that’s part of the nomenclature (e.g. bitcoin).
  • is “monetary” exchange
  • uses cryptography (see cryptography in the computer era) to secure transactions, control creation of additional “coins”, and verify transfer of assets between parties
  • were originally “mined” (using a computer or “rig” of computer video cards to perform complicated algorithms that get more and more difficult and less cost-effective to the miner as more coins are mined) but can be offered pre-mined these days, This is the bullet point that makes this entire cryptocurrency thing complicated and I am not helping much here.  I recommend further reading on this as that’s a whole topic and would require me to do further research to understand and break it down properly.

Cryptography

Cryptography or cryptology is a practice used for secure communication, preventing peeking eyes and computers/programs from sniffing the private messages.

Cryptography prior to the modern age was effectively synonymous with encryption, the conversion of information from a readable state to apparent nonsense. The originator of an encrypted message shared the decoding technique needed to recover the original information only with intended recipients, thereby precluding others from doing the same.

Enters BitCoin and AltCoins

The first decentralized cryptocurrency was Bitcoin. Some now call it Bitcoin core since there is another recently-created cryptocurrency called Bitcoin Cash.  Bitcoin, created in 2009, was the first decentralized cryptocurrency. Subsequent cryptocurrencies are called altcoins (alternative coin). Popular altcoins include Etherium, Ripple, LiteCoin, and Bitcoin Cash but there are hundreds (thousands even) of altcoins. I would not be surprised if the majority of these become worthless, and the frequency at which new ones are created drop drastically, within a year or two as the hype subsides and regulations are put in place… at which point only a handful will reign supreme.

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are decentralized unlike centralized electronic money and central banking systems. The decentralized control is related to the use of bitcoin’s blockchain (block chain) transaction database.

Bitcoin block data representation

The ICO

The Intial Coin Offering ICO is kinda similar to the stock Initial Public Offering (IPO) in that it can be a source of capital.  However, it has some differences in that it’s more like kickstarter (crowdfunding) campaigns in the form of cryptocurrencies.  The cryptocurrency from the ICO is pre-allocated to the “investor” in the form of [digital] tokens… The investor does not own part of the company if there is a company behind the ICO, just the digital currency.

A software developer, group of developers, or a company comes up with a new cryptocoin and pre-sells an amount to investors prior to launch. They may swap these digital tokens for money (often USD) or another established cryptocurrency like pioneer bitcoin. This early investment may fund development and help kick-start the coin’s circulation. After all, no currency is very useful if it just sits in the wallets of a few people.

Similar to Penny Stocks

1. Many uneducated investors see it as a low-investment, high-return mechanism. Put in $100 – $1000 into at a low-value venture, follow the wave of hype (or create some themselves – illegal), and hope the hype will see the price go up by astronomical multiples. That has happened, especially in 2017.

2. Most are unregulated because the “industry” is complex. Not many people (including me) understand it enough, outside some serious computer scientists and a few others. Many investors do not understand ICOs and cryptocurrencies in general, even less than I do.  This is similar to penny stocks and the various exchanges, especially before brokerage firms / online brokerages were forced to allow investors to put limit orders on penny stocks.

3. investors in ICOs salivate at the prospect of the ICO project or company becoming a hit, thus making the coin it uses a sought-after commodity and making them rich.

4. Like Penny Stocks, if enough above-ground (but often underground) hype is created around the future prospects of the venture, or its coin, others may want to buy in, bidding up the price and allowing earlier investors to exit at a profit.

5. Like with Penny Stocks, if nobody buys, then the project fails and the coin becomes worthless.

6. These cryptocurrencies are very volatile like Penny Stocks. The earlier investors often buy just before or at the beginning of the hype, then make out like villains when the price shoots upwards.

6. They are decentralized

What Should You Do

  1. I am not even 1% qualified to give anyone financial advice but even less so in terms of cryptocurrencies. I have not invested in cryptocurrencies and have no immediate plans or near-term plans to do so.  If I was an investor looking to get in on these ICOs or any other security, I would have to
  2. read up on the business, the industry, the cryptocurrency/ies I might be interested in. Then I’d read again.
  3. speak to an investment adviser, especially one who understands ICOs and cryptocurrencies.
  4. invest ONLY in legal ventures. Many of these are legal in the USA but not in some other countries where they are partially or totally banned.
  5. ONLY invest money I don’t need, money that I can afford to lose completely without affecting my bills and the ability to feed my family.

Here’s a satirical youtube video about the largest and most popular cryptocurrency, Bitcoin. This was shared by a bredren of mine who actually invests in the altcoins.