Archive for May 10th, 2014

By JC

Talking over the latest revelation with my German SO — after reading today’s news report in the Missoulian on the alleged deliberate homicide of German national Diren Dede — about German Consul Peter Rosen putting the Governor and prosecutors on notice that he expects that the law will be fully applied and he trusts that:

“justice will be done by not letting go unpunished the shooting of an unarmed juvenile … German penal law also applies for crimes committed against German nationals abroad, enabling German state prosecutors to open investigations in such cases.”

…it became painfully obvious that if Markus Kaarma’s charges for deliberate homicide hold, then why hasn’t his wife Janelle Pflager been charged as an accomplice or co-conspirator? The charging document contains enough evidence to implicate her, as she assisted in baiting the garage trap for the next burgler, set the motion detector and video surveillance system, took a photo on her phone camera once the surveillance had been tripped, and accompanied her husband out to the garage to shoot Diren Dede. It’s called “premeditation.”

My SO mentioned that in Germany they already are wondering why Pflager hasn’t been charged, and that as the German Consul noted, Germans can and will take the matters in their own hands and charge Pflager, and in case of an acquittal, Kaarma.

It would behoove Missoula prosecutors and city officials to look at the severity of this injustice and once Kaarma gets arraigned on Monday, May 12th in Missoula District Court, to assure that “justice will be done” and charge Pflager. If not, Montana’s reputation as a tourist destination to Europeans will definitely suffer when there is a trial in Germany for Kaarma and/or Pflager. Governor Bullock seems little concerned about the international attention such a trial might bring:

In response to a question, Bullock said he doesn’t believe international news coverage of the shooting will hurt Montana tourism, which last year experienced a record year. 

Unfortunately, that isn’t what Germans are thinking about Montana at the present. They already are dumbfounded that Pflager’s being an accomplice has been ignored by prosecutors and the press. Sad that our press and Governor need to look to the financial impact to the state when considering how to respond, or whom to charge. Or what the impact of an ugly extradition proceedings and foreign trial with all the accompanying media attention might have on their bottom line.

Of course, we only need to look at the impact of letting the actions of Grizzly football players dictate public relations for the University of Montana to know that no one will ever admit that the huge decline in students and associated budget cuts are a result of prosecutorial misconduct. Why would reactions to a murder trial be any different?

Castle Doctrine? There are real castles in Germany, and none of them are being used to justify the murder of unarmed teenagers, even if they are trespassing. Justice should be swift and merciful.

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by lizard

Politicians are increasingly forced to utilize social media. Often times that means delegating Twitter accounts and Facebook posts to young interns or political aides who actually know what they are doing. While that may be easiest for a campaign, some of the advice out there suggests politicians should take on that role themselves:

While aides and PR people are great for managing many dimensions of your communications, they shouldn’t be managing the bulk of your social media presence. The reason? Social media inherently blurs the line between public and private, and exists at the fulcrum of what you want the public to see and what they will see. This might sound disconcerting to a politician who’s used to having iron-fisted control over her image, but letting go of some of the carefully scripted dialog and picture-perfect hair might just make you more real, and more vote-able, to the public.

There are inherent risks, of course. I’ve been watching one particular candidate, Greg Strandberg (running for HD 98) incessantly commenting all across the Montana blogosphere. Strandberg does maintain a campaign blog but it’s his commenting presence at other blogs that I find most interesting.

Strandberg might do well to read up on the advice at the previous link. Here is some particular advice I’ll draw his attention to:

Again, because of that grey area between public and private that social media inhabits, it can be difficult to navigate what’s “right” to post and what should remain offline. There is no easy answer, as each situation calls for a different response. But a good rule of thumb is to be yourself – insert your opinions, your personality, and some tidbits from your daily life that voters might want to know – without going overboard. Generally, avoiding overly negative comments, even those that you think might help to smear your opponents, is best on social media. You just can never tell how your followers will react.

I’ve noticed several comments made by Strandberg that—if he was a serious candidate—will probably come back to haunt him. The most glaring mistake Strandberg made was calling Montanans stupid. Unfortunately I can’t remember which blog he made that comment at, but I have a feeling someone like Craig Moore could find it pretty easily (Craig is quite good at finding old statements and reminding us bloggers that writing online sticks around and can be used against us down the road).

Another more recent comment Strandberg made at Montana Cowgirl ensures I will never vote for him. Here it is:

You have to realize people that work for non-profits, political groups, and other ‘organizations’ often can’t do anything else. It doesn’t matter what party they adhere to and take money from – they can’t contribute to society in meaningful ways. —Greg Strandberg

If Strandberg wants to actually inform himself about how nonprofits absolutely do contribute to society in meaningful ways, he should read this op-ed by United Way CEO Susan Hay Patrick. I wrote about this topic recently. If Strandberg took the time to, you know, actually read the posts instead of just rubbing out comments all the time, maybe he would be a better informed candidate for office.

I know Strandberg isn’t shy about giving advice, considering he had this to say in response to my post about buying a gun:

If you’re so concerned about the fate of society’s future, why not try to take some constructive actions to change it, not what would only lead to destructive outcomes?

Writing a blog doesn’t really cut it. Sure, you can get your ideas out, but mainly your just preaching to the converted. I don’t know what your traffic is, but I don’t think there’s any substantive policy changes coming about because of it.

Wouldn’t running for city council be a more concrete step toward ensuring violence doesn’t reach your family? If you do a good job there you might be able to move up to a higher office.

Of course that’s not as easy as buying a gun, now is it?

I’m just returning the favor ;)




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