D.C. Life

It is fairly universally accepted that boys brought up by single mothers
are far more likely to slip into disfunction
than those brought up by both their biological parents.
This is a point raised by many of those concerned about
social disfunction in our society.
So why are so many mothers trying to raise their children
without benefit of the child’s biological father?
A convenient, and no doubt partly true, answer is to blame it all on
irresponsibility of the male (all too often a minor) who parented the child.
But, wonder of wonders, in some cesspools of the social sciences,
there are some harpies who are
actively encouraging girls and adult women
to raise their children without benefit of their father,

assigning the highest priority to
“what is good for the woman”
rather than
what is good for the child or for society at large.
For examples of this, see the post Selling cultural/social decay.


Feminism = female selfishness, egotism, and narcissism


D.C. Arts Program Picks Up the Pieces
By Susan Kinzie
Washington Post, 2009-08-19

A Frightening 'New Normal' in the District
By Colbert I. King
Washington Post, 2009-08-22


Fenty's friend's firm got millions after D.C. ended contract
By Nikita Stewart
Washington Post, 2010-01-09

D.C. social workers fired in maelstrom of Banita Jacks case should be reinstated
By Petula Dvorak
Washington Post, 2010-06-25

Carl Miller was a brand-new social worker in the District
when he steeled himself for his second case --
a pregnant 11-year-old.
Her 24-year-old mom had AIDS,
and the aunt living with them, an exhausted 26-year-old,
had eight kids of her own.


Voting for none of the above
by Harry Jaffe
Washington Examiner, 2012-04-03

[For the election results, see this story.]

D.C. schools outspend nation per student
by Lisa Gartner
Washington Examiner, 2012-06-21

D.C. public schools are spending more per student
than any state in the nation,
writing an $18,667 check for each child,
to oust New York as the top spender,
according to 2010 census data released Thursday.

Looking at the data in the table below,
it looks like D.C. topped New York both years.]

Top-spending states
Rank State Per-pupil cost in '09/'10 Cost (rank) in '08/'09
1 D.C. $18,667 $18,126 (1)
2 New York $18,618 $15,552 (4)
3 Wyoming $16,841 $16,408 (2)
4 New Jersey $15,783 $16,271 (3)
5 Connecticut $15,274 $15,175 (5)

Top per-pupil spenders among the 50 largest school districts
Rank District Per-pupil cost in '09/'10 Cost (rank) in '08/'09
1 New York City $19,597 $19,146 (1)
2 Montgomery County $15,582 $15,447 (2)
3 Baltimore $14,711 $14,379 (3)
4 Milwaukee $14,038 $13,444 (5)
5 Prince George's County $14,020 $13,756 (4)
9 Fairfax County $12,554 $13,210 (6)
Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Meanwhile, Montgomery County Public Schools
outspent all of the 50 largest school districts in the nation
except New York City, with a price tag of $15,582 per student.


But despite being the lowest performer in most respects,
the District's $18,667-per-student cost --
up from $16,408 the prior year and up 39 percent since 2006 --
topped the region as well as the nation in 2010.
The District spent the fourth-most among states in 2009,
but was No. 1 in 2008.


The question for the District is
whether its sizable sum is being spent efficiently,
said Matthew Chingos, a researcher with
Brookings Institution's Brown Center on Education Policy.

"In the last couple years,
there has been evidence of some improvements out of it,
but think of the money they're putting in -- $19,000 --
that's a lot of money, and it makes you think.
It raises questions," Chingos said.


UDC’s staff and facilities are too large, report says
By Nikita Stewart
Washington Post, 2012-09-19


“Nearly three-quarters of UDC’s faculty
are full or associate professors
as compared with a 40 percent average for peer institutions.
Salaries for all faculty
are 33 percent above the median salary at peer institutions,”

the report says, using data from an analysis of the 2010-11 school year.



‘Violence for violence’s sake is troubling,’
says cyclist attacked by youths on D.C. trail

By Peter Hermann and Trishula Patel
Washington Post, 2013-06-16

Victim says he was held up by armed 12-year-old boy in Northeast
By Peter Hermann
Washington Post, 2013-07-24

Authorities reported eight robberies in the District on Wednesday —
four with guns or knives — from about midnight through mid-afternoon.

One robber was described as a man with tattoos and wearing army fatigue shorts.
Another, D.C. police said, had a “regular haircut.”
Still another had on blue jeans and a gray hat with a dolphin on it.
One description stood out: a boy with a gun,
who was thought to be all of 12 years old.

If the victim was correct,
the middle-school-age gunman would be among the younger people
who commit robberies in the city.

The robbery occurred about 1 p.m. in the 4900 block of Eads Street NE,
just off Benning Road and near the Anacostia Freeway.
Police tweeted the description: “12-year-old wearing red shirt.”

Officer Araz Alali, a police spokesman, said the victim said
the youth pointed a black handgun at him and tried to take his cellphone
but didn’t get it.
The victim said the robber was 4 feet 6 inches tall.

Police said they have only the man’s word to describe the robber’s age.
But a high ranking police official with direct knowledge of the case
played down any attempt to sensationalize.

“He probably is 12,” said the official, who is not authorized to speak on the matter.
“I don’t know why everyone is so surprised.
Unfortunately, it’s not out of the norm
to have some younger kids involved in these types of crimes.”

In September,
two people in Northeast Washington reported being robbed by a 6-year-old boy,
although they said he did not have a gun.
The police announcement on Twitter caused a sensation,
and police later toned down the description to include
a group of children ranging in age from 7 to 14.
Police privately questioned the victims’ stories;
one admitted in an interview they were trying to buy drugs.
No arrest has been made.

The gray beyond: A family copes after tragedy
By Keith L. Alexander
Washington Post, 2013-07-27


It was three days after their third wedding anniversary,
and TC was walking home alone from an evening with friends.
They had attended a Nationals [baseball] game
and gathered afterward for drinks at Tune Inn, a Capitol Hill bar.

As he crossed a park near Eastern Market just after midnight,
three men approached him and demanded money.
He handed over his iPhone and bank card, but as he did so,
one of the men came up from behind with an aluminum bat.

Tommy Branch, 23, of Fort Washington called the bat his “Barry Bonds,”
according to detectives.
With a two-fisted grip, Branch wound up and swung so hard
that TC’s skull shattered, an optic nerve was severed
and he was left with a dent across the left side of his head.

He was found eight hours later on a front porch a few blocks from home,
unconscious and bleeding internally where pieces of his skull had sliced into his brain.

TC remained in a coma for several days.
He underwent six surgeries.
He was left blind in his left eye and lost some use of his right arm and leg;
both are noticeably thinner than the left.
He faces at least two more surgeries,
including one to rebuild part of his collapsed skull.

Branch was found guilty of aggravated assault and robbery,
and earlier this month, he was sentenced to more than 24 years in prison.
Michael Moore, 19, of Landover pleaded guilty earlier this year.
Sunny Kuti, 18, of Southeast Washington was acquitted of the assault
but still faces a conspiracy charge.


D.C.’s epidemic of failed ethics
By Colbert I. King
Washington Post, 2013-09-13

In some circles, it’s called “getting over on.”
It means using a situation to your advantage,
even if doing so is unethical.

In our city, getting over on the D.C. government — and, by extension, taxpayers —
is a flourishing industry.

The scope is sickening.

In the past few months, about 30 people have been arrested or indicted
or have pleaded guilty and gone to prison
for getting over on
the D.C. Department of Employment Services,
the Department of Human Services,
the Children and Youth Investment Trust Corp., a city-owned hospital,
the Office of Campaign Finance,
D.C. Medicaid, the Corrections Department, a charter school and Medicare.

The amount of money embezzled, accepted in bribes, defrauded
or spent on illegal political campaign contributions? Nearly $19 million.

Mind you, those figures are based on records of arrests and convictions since June.
They don’t include efforts to get over on federal campaign finance laws.
This week,
a man pleaded guilty to federal charges of failing to report
more than $600,000 that his New York company received
to be spent on behalf of a 2008 presidential campaign.
The source of the unreported funds is widely believed to be
D.C. businessman Jeffrey Thompson,
who is thought to figure prominently in
the corruption of the District’s 2010 mayoral campaign.

All of this comes even after
former D.C. Council member Harry Thomas Jr. (D-Ward 5)
pleaded guilty to lining his pockets with more than $350,000 in taxpayer money
meant to benefit children;
former council chairman Kwame Brown (D)
pleaded guilty to a felony bank fraud charge; and
former council member Michael A. Brown (D-At Large)
admitted embarking on an illegal bribery scheme.


[But none of the Democratic electorate would ever consider committing vote fraud.
When King writes

In some circles, it’s called “getting over on.”
It means using a situation to your advantage,
even if doing so is unethical.
we are supposed to believe that this is being done to achieve financial advantage,
but never electoral advantage.
And the PC media, including in particular the Washington Post editorial board
continues to claim that because vote fraud is rarely caught,
therefore it must not exist.
What a sorry bunch of deceiving sons of bitches such editorial boards are.
Sneering masters of deceit, promoting corrupted elections.]

Charter school officials diverted millions, lawsuit alleges
By Emma Brown
Washington Post, 2013-10-02

[For the relevance of this story, in my opinion, to the subject of voter fraud,
see my comments at the end of the article.]

Options Public Charter School was founded to improve the fortunes of the District’s most troubled teens and students with disabilities, and the District government sent millions of taxpayer dollars to the school each year for their education and care.

D.C. officials alleged in a lawsuit Tuesday that three former managers at the Northeast Washington school diverted at least $3 million of that money to enrich themselves, engaging in a “pattern of self-dealing” that was part of an elaborate contracting scam. The civil case alleges that the managers created two for-profit companies to provide services to Options at high prices, sometimes with the help of a senior official at the D.C. Public Charter School Board.

Those companies won lucrative contracts for bus transportation and school management and were paid for services that went undocumented or that were performed by school employees, according to the complaint and supporting documents. The Options managers allegedly received “exorbitant” bonuses shortly before they resigned this summer to run the companies full-time.

The managers were allegedly aided by the chairwoman of the school’s board of trustees at the time — WUSA (Channel 9) vice president and news personality J.C. Hayward — and the senior charter school official, who was responsible for charter-school financial oversight across the city. Documents filed with the court papers show that the signature of Hayward, who allegedly helped incorporate one of the companies, appears to be on some of the expensive contracts. The three ex-managers, their companies, Hayward and the charter-school board official were all named as defendants in the lawsuit.

Hayward told Channel 9 that she did nothing wrong, but she has been relieved of her duties pending further investigation, according to a news report from the station. Hayward and WUSA’s general manager did not return calls from The Washington Post to their offices seeking comment Tuesday.

Donna Montgomery, former chief executive of Options and president of the two for-profit companies, said in a statement that no public funds were misused and that all contracts and payments “were disclosed and vetted by a variety of third parties, including the Options Board, outside auditors and the D.C. Public Charter School Board.”

“People tend to believe allegations like these are true when the facts are otherwise,” Montgomery said in a statement provided by Jeff Smith, who worked at Options until July and now is director of public affairs at one of Montgomery’s companies. “This is unfortunate for the Options School and its staff, me and my team but, most of all, the students.”

Options, an institution meant to change the lives of the city’s neediest children, served as a “cash-generating machine,” according to D.C. Attorney General Irvin B. Nathan, who has asked the D.C. Superior Court to appoint a receiver to oversee the school.

Criminal prosecutors are aware of the allegations and “will review all pertinent information as we continue our review of this matter,” said Bill Miller, a spokesman for U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr.

The D.C. Public Charter School Board said there are no systemic problems with charter-school finances. The board has financial oversight of the city’s fast-growing charter schools, which now enroll more than 40 percent of District students and receive more than half a billion dollars in taxpayer money each year.

“We see this as an event that is very much specific to Options, and we are pretty proud of the level of oversight that we have in general,” said Darren Woodruff, the board’s vice chairman. “We’re confident that this is something that is not going to be an issue beyond this one school.”

Staff members for the charter board have recommended that Options close, and board members expect to vote on initiating that process at a meeting scheduled for Oct. 16. Scott Pearson, executive director of the charter schools’ board, said the school will remain open through the end of this school year in any case.

Options, founded in 1996, is the city’s oldest charter school. It enrolls about 400 at-risk students in middle and high school; most of them have disabilities, and many are homeless or have been through the juvenile justice system.

Parents who were outside Options at dismissal time Tuesday said they were surprised to learn about the allegations and worried about what might happen to their children if the school closes.

“All I want is for my child to get his education,” said Alanda Bucey, the mother of a student who was kicked out of his last school.

The city charter board launched an investigation of Options on Aug. 19, days after The Washington Post submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request seeking contracts between the school and two for-profit companies founded and controlled by its managers: Exceptional Education Management Corp. (EEMC) and Exceptional Education Services (EES).

Those contracts and other payments to the companies — including a $2.8 million contract signed in February for management services — are at the heart of the District’s case.

Shortly before that contract was signed, the school allegedly projected that its annual revenue would grow by 25 percent — or $2.8 million — because of growth in the number of special education students with the most intensive needs, who also bring with them more city money: $28,284 each on top of the regular per-pupil funding of about $9,000.

Options also agreed to pay EES hundreds of thousands of dollars for bus transportation services. Though Options had paid a previous contractor $70,000 for bus services, it paid EES $981,250, according to a sworn declaration from a forensic accountant who examined the schools’ records for the charter schools board.

Montgomery presented herself as a school official when a Washington Post reporter and photographer visited Options in May. By then, according to contracts obtained by The Post via FOIA, Montgomery had already signed at least two lucrative contracts with the school, one as the chief executive of EES in September 2012 and another as the chief executive of EEMC last February. Montgomery and the other managers left the school in July.

In the court complaint, D.C. officials allege that the managers’ salaries were far out of line with what public officials make, especially given the size of the school.

Montgomery’s “salary and bonuses from Options PCS during a one-year period — at least $425,000 combined — totaled more than the salary of the President of the United States and more than twice the salary of the Mayor of the District of Columbia, even though Options PCS is a small school whose revenue comes mostly from public school funding,” the complaint says.

D.C. Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson earns a base salary of $275,000 to run a school system of about 45,000 students, according to her employment contract.

Hayward, who is widely known as a four-decade veteran of the news business in the Washington area, allegedly “substantially assisted” the scheme by authorizing bonuses and signing contracts with EEMC and EES in her role as chairman of the Options board of trustees, according to the lawsuit.

Jeremy L. Williams, who was the chief financial officer of the D.C. Public Charter School Board until Aug. 21, also allegedly aided the scheme. He “regularly forwarded confidential, internal” e-mails to the three managers, including e-mails alerting them to a planned inspection of Options that was meant to be a surprise, according to court documents.

Williams, who also served on Options’s board of trustees, also allegedly maneuvered to ensure that EEMC’s largest contract, for $2.8 million, would not be reviewed by charter board staff members before it was approved. He is now EEMC’s chief financial officer, according to the lawsuit. Williams did not return calls to his office and home Tuesday.

Molly Evans, a former Options teacher who quit in the spring in part because she felt the school was not providing students with legally required special education services, said she was concerned that the city charter board “could not see past all the charades Options put up.”

A charter board spokeswoman said the board acted quickly when it learned of potential irregularities at Options in August, notifying the city’s attorney general and hiring the forensic accountant. In July, after a study of charter school finances, the board announced that it found “no pattern of fiscal mismanagement” at Options in fiscal 2012.

Charter schools board staff members plan to introduce changes to the contract oversight process at the board’s October meeting, said Theola Labbe-DeBose, a board spokeswoman.

“We take all complaints and tips seriously,” Labbe-DeBose said. “And always, we will continue to work to improve our oversight to identify conflict-of-interest issues.”

[With the widely-reported allegations (in this case)
and convictions (in many other cases,
some of which are cited in the column of Colby King above)
of financial corruption in overwhelmingly Democratic District of Columbia,
not to mention other reports of fraud throughout the country,
how on earth can Democratic politicians and media editorial boards,
e.g. at the Washington Post and New York Times,
claim that the population
which all too often commits financial fraud to increase their financial situation
would never dream of committing voter fraud to further their political situation?
That's real insanity.]

Stolen laptop makes it from D.C. school to Internet to pastor in Louisiana in 10 days
By Peter Hermann
Washington Post, 2013-12-01


New claims surface in Options charter case
By Emma Brown
Washington Post, 2014-01-03

A senior official at the D.C. Public Charter School Board allegedly received $150,000 to help the former managers of Options Public Charter School evade oversight and take millions of taxpayer dollars for themselves, according to a new court document.

Jeremy L. Williams was the chief financial officer at the D.C. Public Charter School Board, responsible for monitoring the business practices of the city’s fast-growing charter schools. But at the same time he was entrusted with rooting out financial wrongdoing, he also allegedly joined in, according to the document.


Teen pregnancies stay stubbornly high in poor D.C. wards
By Robert McCartney
Washington Post Opinion, 2014-01-29

It was sad and sobering to hear
the teenage mothers and mothers-to-be from the District’s poorest neighborhoods discuss
why so many in their communities get pregnant so young.

They said they and their friends don’t expect to go to college or have careers,
so there’s less reason to delay having children.
They said their part of the city east of the Anacostia River
lacks restaurants, theaters and other entertainment,
so young people are more likely to turn to sex as an alternative.

[This is amazing.
At one time, there was the notion that a woman should not have a baby
until she could ensure that she would be able to provide for it.
In my youth, that generally meant having a husband who could provide support, financial and otherwise.
(This was a race-neutral opinion, applying certainly to white women.)
Not having a career was no excuse for having children.
Not having access to restaurants or theaters was no excuse for having children.
Too bad the WaPo columnist is unable to voice those opinions.

Clearly, in WaPo-land no problems of the black community
are ever the fault of the blacks themselves,
but must be blamed on the larger, still majority-white, society.]

They all agreed it’s different “uptown,” in the District’s better-off neighborhoods.

“ ‘Uptown’ . . . they probably don’t deal with that ‘having a baby’ type stuff. They’re more focused on education,” said one young participant in a new study of teen pregnancy in the District.

Said another, a pregnant high school student: “ ‘Uptown’ . . . they have . . . activities they can focus their mind more off of sex. I mean, everybody is going to think about sex. But I feel like they can focus their mind on something else.”

[There is something about ‘Uptown’ that these girls
either are unaware of or unwilling to bring up.
It’s not just that girls brought up in the “bourgeois”
possibly have more entertainment options and career prospects.
It’s also that there are strong social controls used to restrict sexual activity,
whether it leads to pregnancy or not, in those girls.
We saw an example of that in the Naval Academy rape case,
where the woman claiming to be a victim of rape said
one of the reasons she delayed reporting the sexual activity
was that
she didn’t want for her mother to find out that she had been sexually active.

Other examples arise where boys or young men brag about their activity,
which in those cultures puts the girl in a bad light.
Examples: In both the Naval Academy rape case and the Steubenville rape case,
the girl’s reputation was damaged.
But the concept of a girl’s reputation being damaged by premature sexual activity
just does not seem to exist
in the world described by the girls quoted in this article.]

I heard the young women speak in July
during small group interviews conducted for the report being released this week
by the DC Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy.
Also participating were teenage boys and teens’ parents.

The study examines why the number of teen births has remained stubbornly high in wards 7 and 8
despite plummeting in the rest of the city since the late 1990s.


It isn’t enough to provide more sex instruction and improved access to contraception.
The District did that starting in 1999 in a concerted campaign to reduce teen pregnancy,
but the methods only worked “uptown.”

In wards 1 through 6,
the total number of teen births has dropped by nearly half —
from 710 in 1997 to 364 in 2011.

By contrast, in wards 7 and 8,
the number rose over that period, from 473 to 508.

“A traditional teen pregnancy approach is too narrow” for the eastern wards, said Michael Perry, a District-based researcher who oversaw the study.
“This is more about investing in community.
It’s about jobs.
It’s about addressing the root causes of poverty.
It isn’t just about making contraception more available.”

[Evidently he is not willing to view these pregnancies
as being a prime “root cause of poverty”
for both the mother and her child.]


Despite the city’s efforts, teens still don’t know as much as they should about contraception.

One girl said her acquaintances were reluctant to use birth control pills because
“they know girls in Europe that are on birth control . . .
[and it] makes them look so much older.”

Boys often carry condoms because they think it enhances their reputation —
but then neglect to use them.


[T]he study had new findings about the District’s poorest communities.
Teens there realize that having a child early will interfere with ambitious plans,
such as higher education or travel.
But they figure they don’t have much of a future anyway.

[So if “they don’t have much of a future anyway”,
they think having a baby is okay?
And no one is telling them otherwise?
The black community is okay with this?
Once their daughters have babies,
it’s the responsibility of government to provide all the support
that once came, directly or indirectly from the father?]

A sense of resignation about their place in the world also plays a role.

Teens “do not believe preventing teen pregnancy is a priority for Wards 7 and 8,” the report says.
“They feel the city as a whole does not care what happens to them.”

]“The city as a whole”.
Don’t they have anyone around them who can give them
what used to be called “character guidance”?
A parent? A minister?
Would it be helpful if the Washington Post in articles and opinion pieces like this
were to quote, not just the “We need jobs” group,
but also people who articulate that
a woman should not have a baby if it becomes the responsibility of the government?]

What to do? The report urges working harder to engage parents and to counter misinformation about contraception.

But the study says it also is necessary to “create more opportunities for youth” in poor neighborhoods and help teens “set higher expectations and goals.”

In other words, transform the economy and mind-set of wards 7 and 8.

Brenda Rhodes Miller, executive director of the DC Campaign, summed it up succinctly: “You’ve got to lift parents out of poverty before you can protect young people from all the ill effects that come with being poor in America.”

Before Relisha Rudd went missing, the 8-year-old longed to escape D.C.’s homeless shelter
By Theresa Vargas, Emma Brown, Lynh Bui and Peter Hermann
Washington Post, 2014-04-06


“Who failed Relisha?”
said Shannon Smith, the cheerleading coach who looked after her.
“I believe everybody failed that girl.
The school, the system, the doctors, the police
and everybody else that should have had something to do with her.”

[How about Relisha's family,
which, according to other parts of this story quoted below,
consistently provided false information (aka "lies")
to her school and to the staff at the shelter where she lived?
Is "the system" supposed to assume that people such as Relisha's mother
need to have their statements verified independently?
Is "the system" supposed to assume that all statements from parents need to be verified?
That sounds impossibly expensive to me, not to mention insulting to most parents.
But if you single out only some parents whose statements need to be checked,
what are your criteria for those whose statements need to be checked?
While in this case, after the fact, we now know that Relisha's mother lied,
if before that was proved "the system" started trying to verify her statements,
it wouldn't be long before "advocates" started challenging the grounds for distrust,
claiming "racism" and "profiling".
For indeed, if some but not all parents are having their statements verified,
than profiling indeed has been done.]


Relisha's grandmother Melissa Young ...now questions
why the shelter staff didn't notice that her granddaughter was gone.
Every night, staff members knock on doors
and ask how many kids are in each room,
but they don't open the doors to look, she said.
If they had, they would have seen Relisha's bed empty many nights.


Although Relisha was absent more than 30 days
before a school social worker alerted child welfare officials,
most of those absences were excused by family members
who said the child was in the care of a "Dr. Tatum."


For many advocates, Relisha has become more than a face on an Amber Alert.
She's a potent symbol.
"How do we prevent this from happening again?"
asked Anniglo Boone, executive director of the Consortium for Child Welfare,
a coalition of nonprofit agencies.
"How do we prevent this for other Relishas?"


Shootings outside National Zoo came amid rising tensions in Southeast Washington
By Peter Hermann and Clarence Williams
Washington Post, 2014-04-26

Gangs mess up the meeting but tell the story
By Courtland Milloy
Washington Post, 2014-04-27

In Petworth, a robbery and death tell us something abut ourselves
by Colbert I. King
Washington Post Op-Ed, 2014-07-12


We overlook — no, we evade the truly chilling and ominous condition plaguing our community: predation.

The Ohs’ attackers were described as 17 or 18 years old. If police accounts are accurate, the youths attacked their prey with all the deliberateness used by predators in the natural food chain.

They stalked. Using teamwork, they sneaked up, ambushed, subdued and seized what they were after.

In the natural world, predators use teeth and claws. Our young men used a gun and brute strength.

In the wild, predators feed on other creatures who share their habitat. In our society, predators feed on other members of the community. We, the prey, try to hide, locking ourselves behind closed doors, hoping our turn isn’t next.

We know they are out there. Some of us even know who they are. “He grew up down the street.” “His grandmother goes to my church.” “He was a problem in school.”

Oh, we know them. They are the kids who are always trying to con people and use their friends. They are the boys who have no problem telling lies.

What do you think they did after beating and robbing the Ohs?

Do you think they were ashamed and remorseful? Or were they proud of themselves for “getting over” on the Ohs?

When caught — trust me, I have seen many cases like this, and they will get caught — they’ll probably say they are sorry. Relatives will tell the judge about early behavioral problems and a lack of support growing up, all of which may be true. Childhood trauma is no myth. Look beneath the surface, and you’re likely to find examples of abuse — the kind a kid won’t outgrow — and problems that need treatment.

Before getting caught, those two young robbers probably won’t give a second thought to what they had done: how they wrecked the Oh family and what they did to my Petworth community.

There’s a word for their behavior: sociopathic. It is the condition, the personality disorder driving the statistics. It is the modern development that makes a mockery of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

It has taken hold in our midst. It has taken down the Oh family. These killings and their perpetrators tell us something about ourselves. We have raised, or allowed to be raised, a generation of kids who, without shame or guilt, can do the most godawful things to the innocent and vulnerable.

D.C. family homeless shelter beset by dysfunction, decay
By Justin Jouvenal, Robert Samuels and DeNeen L. Brown
Washington Post, 2014-07-13

Fighting at Six Flags may have been organized via Twitter
By Lynh Bui and Hamil R. Harris
Washington Post, 2014-09-30


“It was panic, mayhem, chaos,” said Katrina Walker,
who had dropped off her son and two of his friends at the park
to celebrate his 15th birthday.
“Everyone was fearful . . . parents were very scared because we had no idea
if our children were hurt or if they got in the middle of something.”

Walker’s son left the amusement park safely.
But family members said the injured teen,
a DuVal High School freshman whose skull was fractured,
had to be placed in an isolation area to prevent brain stimulation
that could further complicate his injuries.
“His life is lying in the balance as a result of someone randomly hitting him,”
said Zina Pierre, a family friend.
“He was hit blindly by the perpetrators and he was staggering, trying to get up,
and some else came along to finish the deed.”


Margo Hodge, a former nursing student and Navy veteran from Stafford County,
was at Six Flags with her husband Saturday night.
The couple left the park with their children at about 8:30 p.m.
when they witnessed a fight and her husband saw someone with a knife,
she said.

“There were literally mobs of 20 to 30 kids per group
and there was just constant fighting,”
Hodge said about the scene inside the park.
“There was a handful of security officers,
but they had no control of the situation.”

As Hodge’s family left the park,
she said she saw dozens of teenagers coming toward the car,
removing their shirts and yelling obscenities,
racial slurs and the word “purge.”

Then she saw a boy who was not the DuVal student fall facedown in the crowd.
She rushed over to help.
When she flipped the boy over,
he was bloody, bruised and missing his front teeth, she said.


Walker said her son and his two friends observed more than 10 fights,
“and then they lost count.”

Dianne McNair, Walker’s mother,
said that as she was looking for her grandson,
swarms of young people were fighting on a grassy mound outside the park.
As soon as one swarm was broken up by police,
a new swarm formed and the fighting resumed.

“It was popping up in so many places like a firestorm,” said McNair ...


[This did not happen in D.C.,
but at Six Flags America in Prince George's County,
which abuts D.C.
You notice the race of those fighting is not mentioned.]


Dozens in D.C., Maryland paid the ultimate price for cooperating with police
By Cheryl W. Thompson
Washington Post, 2015-01-11


[There were] at least 37 people in the District and Maryland
who have been killed since 2004 for cooperating with law enforcement
or out of fear that they might,
according to a Washington Post examination
of hundreds of police and court records.
Eighteen of those occurred in the District.
Comparable data in Virginia could not be obtained.


Maryland, D.C. officials seek Metro management overhaul
By Abigail Hauslohner and Robert McCartney
Washington Post, 2015-04-05

Metro must improve its management and accountability
before local governments have the confidence to invest billions of dollars
in expanding the transit system to handle the region’s expected growth,
top transportation officials from Maryland and the District said.


They say that continuing problems with finances and safety show that
Metro is poorly run from top to bottom.
A sharp division between the jurisdictions
and Metro’s board, which had Virginia’s support,
provoked the current crisis over the transit agency’s leadership.

“There’s a need for across-the-board management improvement,”
said D.C. Transportation Director Leif A. Dormsjo, who recently joined Metro’s board.
“We want to fix the current situation
and make sure that we’re in a position of strength to invest in Metro.”

Maryland Transportation Secretary Pete Rahn
called the transit agency’s financial mismanagement “unforgivable”

“I would say that there are multidisciplinary management issues at WMATA that need to be upgraded,”
Dormsjo said.
Metro needs to
master basic management discipline,
exercise better financial controls
and communicate effectively with personnel —
changes that would apply “across the board,” Dormsjo said.

Rahn said that the replacement last year
of Metro’s chief financial officer and auditor
wasn’t sufficient
to guarantee good financial management going forward.

“If you leave the same people in place below them
who are doing the same thing that they were doing previously,
that doesn’t solve the problem,” Rahn said.

Both Dormsjo and Rahn said that
continuing problems with Metro’s finances
played a major role in their desire for a management overhaul.


Metro also is funding the bulk of its growing pension allowance
out of its operating budget,

a behavior that one Metro board member said
was unsustainable and dangerous.


More specific details on Metro’s finances were not available,
because the transit agency is months overdue on its annual audit
and has failed for nearly a year
to provide the jurisdictions that subsidize it
with full mandatory quarterly reports.

“Right now, we’re not even getting the reports
that are required by our capital agreement,” Rahn said.
“And we’re being told [by Metro],
‘Oh we’re trying to work on these audits,
we don’t have time for these quarterly reports.’ ”


Some hope the public debate will force the bickering factions to start working together. Others are worried that continued divisions, particularly after the collapse of the initial search, could keep potential candidates away.

“This is an extraordinarily small industry. And everybody watches,” said one person close to the process who asked not to be named in order to speak candidly. “They’ll say: ‘I don’t care if they promise me the world — this board is nuts.’ ”

Dormsjo said that he hopes the District will act in a mediating role between a fiscally conservative Maryland administration, which insists on postponing any discussion of expansion, and a Virginia government that is pro-expansion.

National accreditation board suspends all DNA testing at District lab
By Keith L. Alexander
Washington Post, 2015-04-27

One of the national organizations that governs DNA laboratories has ordered the District’s new crime lab to immediately suspend all DNA case work after concluding that the lab’s procedures are “insufficient and inadequate.”

D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser ordered the audit by the ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board last month after the U.S. Attorney’s Office said it had discovered errors in some of the lab’s DNA analyses. The audit, which was published Friday, criticized the lab’s practices and said they were not in compliance with FBI standards. It ordered “at a minimum” the revalidation of test procedures, new interpretation guidelines for DNA mixture cases, additional training and competency testing of staff.

The DNA analysts at the District’s Department of Forensic Sciences, according to the audit, “were not competent and were using inadequate procedures.” The authors of the review gave the lab a minimum of 30 days to address their concerns.


To make black lives matter, black people need to believe it
By Courtland Milloy
Washington Post Opinion, 2015-07-28

At a recent “safe communities” meeting in Southeast Washington, where some of the District’s most crime-ridden neighborhoods are located, D.C. Council member LaRuby May (D-Ward 8) offered a sobering take on her short time representing that part of the city.

“I’ve been a council member for 72 days, and I’ve already been to seven or eight funerals for people younger than me,” said May, who is 39. There have been 80 reported homicides in the District so far this year — 30 of them committed in her ward, including seven killings in the past month.



Where’s the accountability for DC Trust’s failure?
by Colbert King
Washington Post Opinion, 2016-04-30