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Guns and Crime

Michigan law enforcement saves 123 children in one-day sweep

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Michigan law enforcement saves 123 children in one-day sweep

A task force of multiple law enforcement agencies found 123 missing children in a single-day sweep that went after the sex trafficking rings in Michigan. Operation MISafeKid also yielded information about two other missing children in different states.

The agencies involved were the US Marshals Service, Michigan State Police, Detroit Police Department, Wayne County local law enforcement, as well as the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Inspector General.

123 missing children found in Michigan sex trafficking operation

https://nypost.com/2018/10/09/123-missing-children-found-in-michigan-during-sex-trafficking-operation/The operation had 301 case files for missing children open before the sweep, which was the first of its kind in Wayne County, according to the report.

All recovered children were interviewed by authorities about possibly being sexually victimized or used in a sex trafficking ring and officials said three identified as possible sex trafficking cases.

Operations like these need to be handled swiftly. Sex trafficking rings are often designed to collapse and scatter once word gets out that parts have been compromised. By utilizing so many agencies in a coordinated single-day effort, they can cover the necessary ground before portions of the rings start to collapse.

This is a huge win for law enforcement. The safety of these children can be attributed to solid planning, good information, and proper coordination.

Guns and Crime

Infographic: Opioid overdose deaths in the United States

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Infographic Opioid overdose deaths in the United States

The use of opioids in the United States has dramatically risen in recent years, prompting calls for action from both sides of the political aisle. It’s not like the old drug wars on the streets of New York or the suburbs of Dallas. This drug epidemic is affecting all races, economic conditions, and ages.

In this infographic from Visual Capitalist, they examine the death rates county by county. Of note is West Virginia, where in some areas the opioid death rate is approaching the cancer death rates.

Courtesy of: Visual Capitalist

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Guns and Crime

Inmates on death row in Washington state given life sentences after capital punishment struck down by Supreme Court

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Inmates on death row in Washington state given life sentences after capital punishment struck down b

The Washington state Supreme Court has ruled the death penalty is unconstitutional based on racial bias. This move affirms Governor Jay Inslee’s moratorium in 2014.

“We are confident that the association between race and the death penalty is not attributed to random chance,” the justices wrote in a majority opinion.

Racial bias was cited following a study commissioned by Allen Eugene Gregory, a death row inmate convicted of aggravated first-degree murder. The study found that black convicts were 4.5 times more likely to receive the death penalty than white inmates with similar charges.

The bias was attributed to juries rather than prosecutor recommendations. There was no evidence that prosecutors were more likely to pursue the death penalty based upon race but juries were more likely to sentence with racial bias.

Source: NPR

Washington State Strikes Down Death Penalty, Citing Racial Bias

https://www.npr.org/2018/10/11/656570464/washington-state-strikes-down-death-penalty-citing-racial-biasThursday’s ruling makes Washington the 20th state to abolish capital punishment. According to the ACLU, this state supreme court is the third to do so citing concerns about racial disparities, along with Massachusetts and Connecticut.

The court decided to convert Washington’s current death sentences to life imprisonment. The state’s corrections division says that there are eight people currently on death row.

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Foreign Affairs

Saudi Arabia underestimated the response to Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance

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Saudi Arabia underestimated the response to Jamal Khashoggis disappearance

Saudi Arabia denies any part in the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi. All evidence points to the theory that they have either abducted or killed Khashoggi after luring him to the consulate to obtain wedding documents. The Washington Post columnist has been a critic of the Saudi regime.

At this point, either Saudi Arabia ambushed Khashoggi or Turkey is going to great lengths to fabricate evidence pointing at them. While still possible, the latter seems highly unlikely, especially in light of a new report that shows the U.S. may have been aware of the plot.

Jamal Khashoggi: Saudis discussed plan to lure journalist to Saudi Arabia

https://www.cnn.com/2018/10/11/politics/khashoggi-us-intelligence-saudi-plan-to-lure-journalist/index.htmlThe US has intercepts of Saudi officials discussing a plan to lure journalist Jamal Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia and detain him, according to a US official familiar with the intelligence.

The official would not go so far as to say Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the operation but said that, although he may not have known the specifics such a plan couldn’t have taken place without his approval.

This was a bold move made on foreign soil against a Saudi citizen with ties to the United States. In retrospect, it may seem obvious the world would pay attention, but it’s likely the Saudis expected this to be a blip on the news radar.

It hasn’t been. Between the Washington Post using every ounce of clout and reach they have to push out the story to nearly every U.S. news outlet covering it, the exposure Saudi Arabia is receiving from this had to be underestimated. If they’d known taking and/or killing a journalist would have this much blowback, it’s hard to imagine them executing the plan.

Now, they’re stuck with an international incident that isn’t going to go away until Khashoggi is returned unharmed. That is likely impossible.

Saudi Arabia has been one of the harshest dictatorships in the world when it comes to silencing dissidents. Khashoggi is far from the first journalist to be punished for his criticisms, which may have helped push the notion through Saudi leadership that they could sweep this under the rug as they have so many times in the past.

There are huge implications if the White House is forced to respond. Saudi Arabia is the key to peace between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Any successful peace deal will go through Riyadh and pass through the hands of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. This puts the White House in a predicament. If they call out bin Salman, they could jeopardize their strong relationship with their second most important ally in the region. If they say nothing and the story continues to have legs, it could make the White House seem complicit in the coverup.

Some on Capitol Hill have taken steps to make the White House act:

Senators trigger law forcing Trump to probe Saudi journalist’s disappearance

https://thehill.com/policy/defense/410865-senators-force-trump-to-investigate-disappearance-of-saudi-journalistThe Magnitsky law requires that the president conduct an investigation after a request from the leaders of the Foreign Relations Committee into whether a foreign person is responsible for an extrajudicial killing, torture or other gross violation of internationally recognized human rights against an individual exercising freedom of expression.

Under the law, the president has to report the findings back to the committee in 120 days, along with a decision on imposing sanctions on the person or persons responsible.

If Saudi Arabia can be proven to have abducted and/or killed Khashoggi, should we continue to call them friends and engage with them as allies? To me, the answer is a resounding ‘No!”

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