Sometimes all you can do is try to make a positive difference in a world of criminal awfulness. Maybe it’s not enough, but it’s better than nothing. From Slate:
When a grand jury decided not to charge police officer Darren Wilson for the killing of Michael Brown just over two weeks ago, the aftershocks of the decision wreaked havoc on the Ferguson community. Pubic schools closed and stores shuttered their windows as protesters took to the streets in the tumultuous aftermath. Throughout it all, however, the Ferguson public library remained open as scheduled.
In the two weeks since the grand jury decision, individuals from around the country looking to help in some way began donating money and books to the Ferguson Municipal Public Library. Social media helped spread the word, and on Monday Ferguson library director Scott Bonner announced the library had received more than $350,000 in contributions. The two-week total nearly matched the library’s annual budget…
On a different hot news topic, Brendan Nyhan, at the NYTimes Upshot blog:
… Most accounts of sexual assault never reach this level of awareness, however. Few are even reported. One reason is that reporting systems on college campuses and in the criminal justice system are widely regarded as unfriendly to victims. In particular, even though research suggests that many rapists engage in repeated attacks, survivors of sexual assault are rarely aware of other victims or able to come forward together.
Callisto, an online sexual assault reporting system under development by a nonprofit called Sexual Health Innovations, aims to change this and provide better options for victims of sexual assault on college campuses…
Ms. Ladd describes Callisto as meeting the need for reporting systems that “keep the survivor in control of their own data and their own choices.” According to the organization, it will allow users to create time-stamped reports that are saved in the system, which is not accessible to administrators or law enforcement. Users may choose to submit a report to campus authorities immediately or store the information and return to it later once they have made a choice about whether to report. Most notably, users are provided with the option to automatically submit their report if another student reports being attacked by the same person, creating shared awareness of a possible serial perpetrator who might otherwise not be identified to campus authorities…
And touching a third horrible topic, Kevin Cullen in the Boston Globe:
Last Thursday, not long after the funeral for his wife’s grandmother, a Boston lawyer named Michael Mone stepped outside a restaurant in Amsterdam, N.Y., to talk on his cellphone with his client, Ali Hussain Shaabaan.
Thirteen years ago, when Shaabaan was 19, he was detained as he tried to cross from Afghanistan into Pakistan. The border guards handed him over to the US military and collected a very nice bounty. He got shipped to the prison in Guantanamo, where some guy he doesn’t know claimed all sorts of things about Shaabaan: that he was a terrorist from Syria, that he came to Afghanistan to wage jihad, that he fought with Osama bin Laden in the mountains at Tora Bora, that he trained to be a suicide bomber. It was a great story, except there wasn’t a shred of evidence, just the word of some shady guy who claims to have the dirt on about half the guys ever held at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.
“You’re getting out,” Mike Mone told Ali Hussain Shaabaan. “Sunday.”
Shaabaan probably didn’t believe him, but he signed off, saying goodbye the way Mone always ended their meetings: “I’ll see you on the other side.” The other side was the airport at Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay, where Mike Mone was waiting when Ali Shaabaan walked off a plane, a free man…
Mone has argued for years that the case against Shaabaan was the fantasy of a guy who would tell his captors anything they wanted to hear and then some. Shaabaan was cleared for release five years ago, but he lingered in Guantanamo because he’s from Syria, and if he went back to Syria he’d probably be killed. He has no intention of going back, Mone says. He’s learning Spanish.
“There’s no evidence he did anything wrong,” said Mone. “In fact, I just saw a letter the US government gave the Uruguayans, admitting they had no evidence that he did anything wrong, that he was involved in any terrorist activities.”
Jerry Cohen, another Boston lawyer, and Buz Eisenberg, a lawyer in Greenfield, say the same thing about their client, a Palestinian named Mohammed Abdullah Taha Mattan. Mattan, 35, and Shaabaan were among six longtime Guantanamo detainees who were resettled in Uruguay on Sunday…
Apart from looking on the bright side, what’s on the agenda for the day?