Recently, the FBI thwarted a terrorist attack aimed at the Federal Reserve Bank in Manhattan. The planned attack by a 21 year old from Bangladesh who arrived in New York six months ago on a student visa is believed to be the act of a “lone wolf”. Thus far the suspect has not been tied to any known terrorist organization but possible connections are being investigated. The FBI and local law enforcement agencies such as the New York City Police Department have successfully prevented a number of planned terrorist attacks from developing since 9/11 as a result of aggressive intelligence efforts; but it is expected that the threat of a home grown terrorist succeeding in an attack on a high profile target remains grave. Best estimates tell us that between 45 and 50 terrorist attacks have been prevented in the United States since 9/11.
Predators preying upon children for sexual gratification are crimes that have touched all segments of our society. Offenders range from parents and clergy to law enforcement officers and elected officials; men and women; grandparents and siblings have all been accused of having committed sex crimes against children. In many cases the offenders, because of their relationship to the victim had a special duty to protect the child from harm, and even a legal duty to report the very act that they themselves committed. While sex crimes offend the public conscience more than most other forms of child of mistreatment of children, it must not be forgotten the abuse of children by adults and other children is happening all around us and that while in some cases the abuse may be difficult to identify for a host of reasons some of which will be identified herein, and it may inflict pain and suffering that the child will carry into adulthood with often physical and psychological consequences difficult if not impossible to reverse.
In America we have always known the difference between demonstrating and rioting. A demonstration has rules and participants for the most part obey them. A riot on the other hand has no rules and rioters therefore feel free to violate legal prohibitions, standards of decency and are willing to act without shame. Demonstrations are usually planned in advance and include an effort to maintain order. They are generally sanctioned and controlled by public law enforcement who place barricades, issue permits for assembly and the use of sound equipment, approve marching routes, and maintain communications with representatives of demonstrating group throughout the life of the public event. Riots are usually spontaneous (or at least claim to be) and from the moment of inception are in violation of law. There are times when demonstrations deteriorate into riots, sometimes even by design. We have seen both demonstrations and riots in American streets. I have found myself in the middle of both in an official capacity over the years.
After the death and destruction of 9/11 in lower Manhattan, litigation on liability for negligent security followed quickly in the federal courts. The issues raised were civil ones concerned with the duty to protect victims of the terrorist acts from property damage, personal injury, commercial losses and wrongful death. The seminal questions to be answered have been: the foreseeability of the risk of the terrorist acts, and the adequacy of the actions taken to prevent the harm caused. As is the case in all negligence litigation, the fact finders, the judge and or jury, determines whether the defendants breached their duties to protect the plaintiffs and should therefore be held liable in damages to the victims and their families for their losses.
I didn’t know my father well but what I knew made me proud. I remember his visits to our little apartment in the Bronx when I was in nursery school; his visits were short but I have retained the memories of his stories of how he left his home in Russia and walked across Poland and onto Germany with his older sister, brother and brother-in-law to eventually board ship to America. I am not sure of when he left Russia and arrived in New York, he must have been about seven or eight years old according to my mother’s recollection. He was something of a legendary figure on his side of the family; he was raised by his sister and brother–in-law and was the “big brother” to their five children. He was a substantially smaller figure to my mother’s family. My mother however loved him until the day he died although they had been separated and then divorced for many years, a love that lasted until her death many years after his passing.
Recent events in Iraq involving armed intervention by American security contractor has resulted in the death of an estimated twenty-eight civilians killed by employees of the American private security contractor, Black Water USA. It has been reported that the security personnel employed to protect U.S. Government personnel and installations became engaged in a firefight with Iraqi nationals after the Blackwater personnel fired on a vehicle that failed to stop when ordered to do so by an Iraqi police officer.