Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, the “Killologist” Training America’s Cops

MEN’S JOURNAL, FEAT. PROF. SETH STOUGHTON:

One morning in October 2016, Lt. Col. Dave Grossman was in a Red Lion Hotel conference room in Sacramento, California, preparing to speak to a group of state troopers about what it’s like to kill.

Grossman, 60, is a former West Point psychology professor who’s spent much of his career studying killology — his term for the psychology of taking a life. Among the military and law enforcement, he’s a revered figure. His first book, On Killing, is part of the curriculum at the FBI academy and on the Marine Corps Commandant’s Professional Reading List. Its follow-up, On Combat, is probably best known for his assertion that people can be divided into three groups — sheep, wolves, and sheepdogs — and it’s the sheepdogs, “blessed with the gift of aggression,” who are responsible for protecting the sheep from the wolves. The analogy has been adopted by various military and gun-rights groups; in Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper, the father of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle gives a (fictional) dinner-table speech about sheepdogs taken directly from Grossman’s writings.

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Congress Could Make Self-Driving Cars Happen—or Ruin Everything

WIRED, 15 FEBRUARY 2017, FEAT. PROF. BRYANT WALKER SMITH:

CONGRESS JUST STEPPED INTO the robocar game. In the past two days, a pair of senators started drafting legislation to advance autonomous vehicles, and the House Subcommittee on Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection held a two-hour hearing exploring how on the tech might be deployed. For your elected officials, it’s a considerable, if tentative, step into the future of transportation.

Of course, they’re just a bit late. Small numbers of robocars already roam the San Francisco Bay Area and other cities, and you’ll probably start riding in them within a few years as Uber and others commercialize the technology. Everything is racing ahead of a regulatory structure ill-equipped to usher in this change.

The nation’s patchwork of laws regulating this technology say nothing about how it is tested (or even defined), how cars using it will operate, or even who should settle these questions. Congress can address these all of these questions and ensure this technology succeeds.

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White House, Gorsuch Could Clash on Search and Seizure

BLOOMBERG BNA, 14 FEBRUARY 2017, FEAT. PROF. COLIN MILLER:

Protections for non-citizens against unreasonable government searches and seizures could be an area of disagreement between President Donald J. Trump and his nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Judge Neil M. Gorsuch is known for his hard-nose, originalist approach to interpreting the Fourth Amendment—which protects people from unreasonable government searches and seizures—and has been likened to the late Justice Antonin Scalia, whom he would replace if confirmed by the U.S. Senate, according to an evidence professor.

But President Trump has issued two immigration-related executive orders that suggest the administration takes the position that non-citizens don’t enjoy the same protections as citizens—one a temporary travel ban that resulted in the detention of several individuals at airports and the other a crackdown on illegal immigrants living in the U.S.

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Muslim Civil Rights Groups Are Worried The White House Wants To Shut Them Down

BUZZED NEWS, 9 FEBRUARY 2017, FEAT. PROF. WADIE SAID:

Leading Muslim advocacy groups are preemptively trying to insulate themselves from anticipated attacks that they are connected with the Muslim Brotherhood after reports that White House advisers are discussing designating the brotherhood as a foreign terrorist organization.

Well-funded anti-Muslim groups in the US like the Center for Security Policy and ACT for America — once fringe elements of the conservative movement that now have a central place within the executive branch — have contended for years that large and prominent American Muslim organizations like the Council on American-Islamic Relations, (CAIR), the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), and the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) are all fronts for, or have been heavily infiltrated by, the Muslim Brotherhood.

Those groups all told BuzzFeed News they are not connected to the brotherhood — and added it was absurd they are once again in a position where they have to defend against those charges.

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Got a Self-Driving Car? Soon, No License Will Be Required

INVERSE INNOVATION, 7 FEBRUARY 2017, FEAT. PROF. BRYANT WALKER SMITH:

In 1913, New Jersey became the first state to issue driver’s licenses. They were a big hit with the public. “Many letters of congratulation have been received by the department, and not one of condemnation,” Job H. Lippincott, the state’s motor vehicle commissioner, told reporters at the time. “I confidently believe that other states will follow New Jersey’s lead, and that the results will be fewer accidents and better road conditions.”

Licenses soon became the standard, and were for more than a hundred years. But it looks like they too might become irrelevant: If your car can drive itself, why do you need a license? In October, the California Department of Motor Vehicles announced that it won’t require drivers licenses for self-driving cars if the federal government deemed them safe enough.

 

“If there is no driver, there is no need for a driving license, just as the passenger in a taxi needs no license to get a ride,” Bryant Walker Smith, assistant professor in the School of Law at the University of South Carolina, tells Inverse. “The relevant state law questions are whether an automated vehicle requires a human driver, who that driver is, and what she must do and may not do.”

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Marcia Zug, A History of Mail Order Brides in Early America

BEN FRANKLIN’S WORLD PODCAST, EPISODE 120, FEAT. PROF. MARCIA ZUG:

How do you build colonies without women?

Most of the colonial adventurers from England and France who set out for Jamestown, New France, and colonial Louisiana were men. But how do you build and sustain societies and spread European culture—in essence, fulfill the promises of a colonial program—without women?

You can’t. Which is why Marcia Zug, a Professor of Law at the University of South Carolina Law School and author of Buying a Bride: An Engaging History of Mail Order Matches, joins us to explore one of the solutions that England and France used to build their North American colonies: mail order bride programs.

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USC law professor: Trump’s Supreme Court nominee a solid conservative

SOUTH CAROLINA RADIO NETWORK, 3 FEBRUARY 2017, FEAT. PROF. JOE SEINER:

A law professor at the University of South Carolina says President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch could set a new tone on the bench.

Professor Joe Seiner told South Carolina Radio Network that Gorsuch can have an impact. “If he is approved, he is young at 49 years of age, so it would definitely change the dynamic of the court for decades to come,” Seiner said.

He said Gorsuch’s nomination is something the GOP can agree on. “He is pretty much consistently seen as having that conservative viewpoint. A very reliable, traditional conservative viewpoint,” said Seiner.

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Gang Rape Of Two Teens Leads To An Unusual Step — A Trial

NPR, 30 JANUARY 2017, FEAT. PROF. APARNA POLAVARAPU:

At the northern border of Somalia and Ethiopia, a group of teenage boys forced two girls — aged 14 and 16 — into a car, drove them to another location, stripped them and raped them.

The incident occurred on December 6. This weekend, a community court charged the perpetrators with thousands of dollars in fines, as well as up to 200 lashes and 10 years in jail. That’s an unexpected outcome in a country where the perpetrators of rape often pay a small fine and walk free.

The case didn’t get much attention until mid-January, when a video that the boys filmed of the gang rape surfaced online. People all over Somalia responded on social media with messages of outrage as well as sympathy for the victims. A Somali activist group’s GoFundMe campaign raised over 10,000 pounds ($12,000) to help one of the victim’s family — who fled town for fear of being ostracized — establish itself in a new city.

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Prof. Stoughton on President Trump’s new executive orders on crime

VICE NEWS, 9 FEBRUARY 2017, FEAT. PROF. SETH STOUGHTON:

Americans got an indication of the Justice Department’s upcoming agenda when President Trump signed three executive orders at the Oval Office swearing-in ceremony of new Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Thursday.

Trump’s orders aim to stop crime, prevent violence against law enforcement, and crack down on drug cartels. But none of the orders implement immediate changes, and it’s not clear what their ultimate impact will be. In addition, criminologists with whom VICE News spoke expressed a fair amount of skepticism.

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USDOT Announces New Federal Committee on Automation

UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, 11 JANUARY 2017, FEAT. PROF. BRYANT WALKER SMITH.

The U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) announced today that it is establishing a new advisory committee focused on automation across a number of modes. The committee, which includes leading professionals and experts in their field, will hold its first meeting on January 16th, 2017 to immediately begin work on some of the most pressing and relevant matters facing transportation today, including the development and deployment of automated vehicles, and determining the needs of the Department as it continues with its relevant research, policy, and regulations.

“During my time at the Department, we have fostered some of the most significant technological changes to ever take place in transportation, and we did so while keeping our focus on the safety of the American people,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. ”This new automation committee will work to advance life-saving innovations while boosting our economy and making our transportation network more fair, reliable, and efficient.”

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