California CCW wars: SEAN PENN UPDATE - I have his full CCW file via PRAR :)


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Jim March
April 28, 2003, 07:47 AM
Well, according to Ross PD, there have been no recent denials of CCW and two currently issued permits: one to a lawyer who defends companies in suits brought by employees and therefore had death threats (with some credible evidence) and of course Sean Penn.

Penn's "good cause" involved claims of threats from a stalker. Penn hired a "threat assessment firm" called "Gavin De Becker and Associates" (www.gavindebecker.com) who apparantly specialize in VIP security. They in turn produced reports on the specific threatening individual(s?) and classed him/them as "high level threat(s?)". There are copies of the reports on GDB letterhead with the names of the threatening person or persons blacked out (which in my opinion is proper).

Ross PD seems to have gone to extreme lengths to sort out Penn's criminal record. First Cal-DOJ cleared him, at which point the Ross "police chief" (who actually holds the title of "Director Of Public Safety) name of Ridgway talked to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office, which apparantly rebuffed all contact(!). His faxed message to that agency implied he was neither happy nor impressed; he then queried LAPD.

(Poor Ridgway seems to have gone through considerable pain over the Penn matter already, I actually feel for the poor guy!)

The big remaining questions involve Penn's actual criminal record...it appears some stuff was *missed*. Rather than go into detail special for THR, I'll continue by quoting the EMail message I'm sending to Mr. Ridgway right at this moment. Meanwhile, does anybody know anything about Gavin De Becker?

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

An open letter to Mr. Michael J. Ridgway, Director of the Ross Department of Public Safety.

Mr. Ridgway,

First, let me thank you for your candid response to my Public Records Act request. It’s clear you’ve made a good-faith effort to comply with the PRA, far more so than most other agencies.

The ability to access CCW records under the PRA is a matter of some controversy and in some cases, documented illegality. You might find the following material of interest regarding that issue, although the problems noted to NOT apply to how you responded to my request:

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?s=&threadid=19889

As you’re aware, the Sean Penn permit issuance has triggered quite a bit of controversy. I would assume you’re aware that the Marin County Sheriff’s Office has been particularly “stingy” with permits, including at least some reported denials of currently sitting Marin County Superior Court judges. So when news hit that Penn had CCW, it provided a “stark contrast”, as it was initially assumed he was issued out of the sheriff’s office until later media reports pegged Ross PD as the issuing agency.

My first concern with the information in your PRA response is that there are no denials to report. Is it that nobody else asked, or is it that denials weren’t documented? We know that at the state level, the California DOJ has been ignoring a mandate to document denials statewide since 1/1/99 (see URL above) so there seems to be “something to hide” in denial records?

But clearly, I can’t prove anything one way or the other with your case so I’ll simply note that as an interesting data point.

Part of the controversy with Penn’s permit is that, well, he has a history of violence. That and the apparent trend where the wealthy get access to CCW has stirred serious discussion online. Examples you might find interesting include:

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?s=&threadid=17763

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?s=&threadid=17763&perpage=25&pagenumber=2 (page two of the same discussion)

In particular, some of the alleged quotes by Penn on his violent past are enough to give one pause:

"I hate journalists. Or better. I hate paparazzi. Yeah, I punched them out and I'll do it again if it's necessary. I think a fist in their face is the only way to protect my private life. I demand my freedom. And I must have it."
Source:
http://www.geocities.com/Hollywood/Bungalow/6339/QUOTES.html

"Family makes me feel there's a reason I'm alive... I'm feeling my life, which I didn't always do partly because I'd be drunk a lot."
Source:
http://www.saidwhat.co.uk/quotes.php?name=Sean%20Penn&type=2

Of even more concern is an alleged timeline of Penn’s criminal past, as compiled via public sources online:

In 1985, Sean Penn was arrested in Nashville for assault and battery for attacking two photographers with a rock. He plead guilty, paid a fine and was given a suspended sentence.

In 1986, Penn slugged a man he accused of trying to kiss his wife. Again he plead guilty and was placed on parole.

In 1997, while on parole for his previous conviction, he punched an extra working on his film "Colors" who tried to take a picture of him. He served half of a 60-day jail sentence for parole violation.

In 1998, Penn was accused of hitting a photographer with a rock. Penn claimed the photographer attacked the rock in Penn's hand with his head and injured himself. No arrest was made.

Mr. Ridgeway, in your PRA response, you list a traffic incident (minor speeding) in 2001, a lawsuit which Penn was involved in (business dispute resolved in Penn’s favor) in 1998/9, and the assault conviction of 1987 for the 1986 incident. The Nashville incident (assuming the above was correct) wasn’t mentioned, neither was the 1997 assault. Did you and/or the California DOJ “miss these”? Or are these reputed incidents in error somehow?

Any clarifications on these issues you can provide would be greatly appreciated. Please be aware that CCW issuance in general is subject to equal protection principles per the US 9th Circuit in Guillory vs. Gates (1983): http://www.ninehundred.com/~equalccw/guillory.html

By that standard, the legions of people out there who feel we have been unfairly denied access to permits have a legitimate interest in asking about how permit issuance is handled across the state. Which is exactly why the California Supreme Court threw open the permit records in CBS vs. Block: http://www.ninehundred.com/~equalccw/cbsvblock.html

This letter and any follow-up public comments to it will be posted at:

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?s=&threadid=20292

Thank you for any light you’re able to shed on these questions,

Jim March
Equal Rights for CCW Home Page
http://www.equalccw.com

If you enjoyed reading about "California CCW wars: SEAN PENN UPDATE - I have his full CCW file via PRAR :)" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
Jim March
April 28, 2003, 08:00 AM
Unfortunately, I'll be out of town until late Tuesday dealing with AB1044:

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?s=&threadid=19889

We'll see what Ridgway has to say by then :).

Jim March
April 28, 2003, 08:06 AM
God, I almost forgot: he applied in October of 2001, and was issued in January of 2002 - I think. The paperwork is somewhat confusing on the exact date of issue. The delay seems to have been caused by Ross PD not believing at first that he was actually legal to own guns :) and doing extra checking :D.

I'm not quite sure *I* believe it, actually. More digging required.

Bartholomew Roberts
April 28, 2003, 01:54 PM
Gavin De Becker did a book called "The Gift of Fear" or some such. He is an anti - one of the "No guns for you; but guns for me" crowd who feel the great unwashed masses cannot be taught how to safely use a weapon for self-defense.

He occasionally pops up in gun magazines.

Here is his bio:
http://www.gdbinc.com/bios-gavin.htm

Notable quotes:

Firearms are unique among consumer goods in America in that they are not governed by any federal safety regulations. There are four categories of regulations covering the manufacture of teddy bears, but none about guns. While most every business is concerned with delivering its product or service safely, gun manufacturers are studying ways to make their products more lethal. They work to make them more portable, more rapid, and more effective at damaging human tissue.

For some people, restricting gun use in any way -- even for toddlers -- is the psychological equivalent of government-imposed castration. I want to point out that I am not challenging our so-called right to bear arms (in whose name, by the way, more Americans have died at home than have died at war). And I am not advocating government gun control.

It is clear, however, that children would benefit if we held gun manufacturers to the same product-liability standards we require for every other consumer product.

Guns could have components that inhibit firing by children, or technologies that allow operation only in the hands of the owner (with a coded ring or wristband, for example, or a built-in combination lock). It’s easier to shoot most handguns than it is to open a bottle of children’s vitamins.

Speaking of tamper-proof containers, the design of billions of bottles of consumer products was changed after the deaths of eight people from poisoned Tylenol, a tragedy completely beyond the control of the manufacturer. Ironically, gun-makers knowingly and enthusiastically build products that kill five hundred Americans each week for which we don’t require a single safety feature.

Some gun owners explain that they needn’t lock their weapons because they don’t have children. To them I’d say that other people do have children, of course, and they will visit your home one day. The plumber who answers your weekend emergency will bring along his bored nine-year-old son, and he will find your gun.

Source: http://www.familyeducation.com/experts/ advice/0,1183,24-8695,00.html

Q. I'm amazed at the number of parents who allow their children to play "paintball." I think it's just another shoot to kill game. What do you think?

A. I agree with you. Funding kids to shoot people with guns is unwise in a society where injuries from firearms are now the leading cause of death for teenage boys. It doesn't take much imagination to conclude that boys will love shooting at each other with guns, but surely parents can come up with a better use of their sons' time.

Source: http://www.familyeducation.com/experts/ advice/0,1183,1-14077,00.html

Pendragon
April 28, 2003, 02:01 PM
10,000 suicides
14,000 homicides (justified included)
1,000 accidents and misc or undetermined (usually less)

Those may be a little high for some years, but suprisingly, it is close to 500 people per week.

They love to lump all gun deaths together dont they?

Standing Wolf
April 28, 2003, 06:46 PM
Thank you for this and your other good efforts, Jim! They're appreciated.

Sven
April 28, 2003, 07:03 PM
Jim,

Great work. I still think you could get more done if you spared these public officials the extra 'fluff' regarding previous controversy, how NOT to respond to Jim March, etc.

My guess is the guy has a lot of things on his desk, and if you make your emails short and to the point you will continue to make good progress.

...unless you are trying to convert someone inside the ranks, which would be tough. Just my two cents.... the email you posted comes off as just a little too detailed.

mjustice
April 29, 2003, 07:42 AM
One minor correction (just for your records).

Colors, a movie about LAgang crime, was released in 1988. So the punching of the extra probably happened in 1987, not 1997. 10 years of post-production, even by Hollywoord standards, is a very very very long time :)

MJ

mvpel
April 30, 2003, 12:03 PM
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/903077/posts

Jim March
May 1, 2003, 01:39 AM
There's another article from the SF Chronicle's Matier & Ross column:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
How Sean Penn got gun permit

Phillip Matier, Andrew Ross Wednesday, April 30, 2003

---

So why was actor Sean Penn toting a loaded 9mm Glock handgun and unloaded .38-caliber Smith & Wesson in the trunk of a car that wound up being stolen?

Fear that an ex-employee of Penn's was stalking him, according to confidential documents he submitted to the Ross Police Department as part of his application for a concealed-weapons permit back in 2001.

The documents, released to us under a state Public Records Act request, also show that Penn underwent an extensive background check and firearms training before being issued the permit early last year.

The records show that the actor had routinely received threats over the years as a result of his "high-profile public lifestyle."

He even had a private security firm review all the crank calls and letters and give him "threat assessments."

Most were nothing, but one former employee was rated as being "in the worst category of pursuers," according to a report submitted by Penn's security outfit to Ross police.

The man -- who according to the threat assessors was trained in martial arts and had prior arrests for possessing a concealed weapon -- repeatedly tried contacting Penn after he was fired.

Penn admitted to using marijuana 20 years ago and had a couple of arrests for assault and driving recklessly, factors that could have disqualified him for a permit for carrying a concealed weapon. In this case, however, Penn got FBI and state Department of Justice clearance and completed firearms training early last year.

Then, earlier this month, someone stole Penn's car with the guns inside while Penn was at a Berkeley restaurant. The car was recovered -- but the guns are still out there.

By the way, not everyone has to jump through the hoops the way Penn did in Marin to carry concealed heat. It all depends on where you live.

For example, only 44 permits were issued in Marin in 2000, the most recent year for which records are available, according to the state attorney general's office. In San Francisco, there were just eight -- the fewest in the state.

San Francisco's liberal Sheriff Michael Hennessey simply refuses to grant permits. And acting Police Chief Alex Fagan says, "I just don't give them unless there is an articulable need."

If you really want a gun, head on down to wide-open Kern County, where officials issued an eye-popping 3,566 concealed-weapons permits in 2000.

Shasta County at the north end of the state wasn't far behind, with 2,972. Authorities there tell us they pretty much issue a permit to any "law-abiding citizen" who's been in the county for a year, passes a basic background check and takes a gun safety course.

But Alameda County Sheriff Charlie Plummer, whose office currently has 137 concealed-weapons permits on file -- down from 150 in 2000 -- says simply being "a law-abiding citizen" doesn't cut it in his county.

"I have some good friends who are law-abiding, but they also have hair- trigger tempers," Plummer said.

As a result, Plummer said he has some rules for issuing permits -- like showing a "real need."

Most notable of those with a "real need" is state senator and gun control advocate Don Perata, who has had one for years because of reported threats against him.

Eight judges, several attorneys, businessmen in high-crime areas and a diamond dealer also made the grade.

One who didn't was Mayor Jerry Brown's longtime aide, Jacques Barzaghi.

Plummer called that permit "political," forcing Barzaghi to get one from the Oakland Police Department instead.

One other thing. Plummer said he requires every applicant to see "a psychiatrist of my choosing -- and they pay for it."

MAKING THE CASE: Despite what some people may think, San Francisco doesn't need a new district attorney -- it needs a new office for the district attorney.

At least that's what D.A. Terence Hallinan said Monday night as he faced off against Bill Fazio and Kamala Harris in the first debate of what promises to be yet another knock-down, drag-out election for the job as the city's top lawman.

To some, it might have seemed like a strange opening statement for lightning-rod Hallinan to make.

But then, those who know Hallinan never cease to be amazed at his ability to float above his critics and eventually land on his feet.

His appearance before the largely yuppie, gay crowd at the "Plan C Club" was a case in point.

To hear his opening remarks, you'd have never known that Hallinan had just had half the police brass indicted -- only to have a judge toss out the charges and take a slap at his lack of ethics for pursuing the case.

Nor would you have known about his beefs with Mayor Willie Brown over his failure to prosecute homeless people and drunks for quality-of-life crimes.

You wouldn't have even heard about his victory in the Diane Whipple dog- mauling case.

Instead, Hallinan came out of the gate with what he thought was the biggest problem facing the D.A.'s office -- the office itself, as in the walls and wiring.

"When I first came in eight years ago, the attorneys didn't even have computers," Hallinan said.

"I said I'd get them. They said we don't have the wiring. I said we'll rewire the place. They said you can't because of the asbestos in the walls."

And it didn't stop there.

"When the Hall (of Justice) first opened," Hallinan recalled, "it had a cafeteria and a parking lot -- now it has neither."

Hallinan completed his architectural appraisal by promising that if re- elected, one of his top priorities would be, of all things, to build a new state-of-the-art Hall of Justice.

Presumably, one with better dining and parking.

---

Chronicle columnists Phillip Matier and Andrew Ross appear Sundays, Mondays and Wednesdays. They can also be heard on KGO Radio on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Phil Matier can be seen regularly on KRON-TV. Got a tip? Call them at (415) 777-8815 or e-mail matierandross@sfchronicle.com.

Page A - 17

And the chart:

CONCEALED WEAPONS PERMITS IN CALIFORNIA

Number of permits issued by police and sheriff agencies among selected
counties in 2000
Kern 3,566
Shasta 2,972
Fresno 2,178
San Bernardino 2,084
Los Angeles 874
San Joaquin 491
Contra Costa 208
San Mateo 204
Alameda 150
Santa Clara 132
Sonoma 131
Solano 77
Marin 44
San Francisco 8
Source: California Attorney General's Office
Chronicle Graphic

Sven
May 1, 2003, 02:27 AM
Also (courtesy Matt Drudge):

http://www.thesmokinggun.com/doc_o_day/doc_o_day.shtml

APRIL 30--Here in New York City, it seems that every celebrity--from Howard Stern to Steven Tyler--has been granted a license to carry a concealed weapon. But in northern California, it's the rare Bay Area resident who qualifies to pack a gat. One guy who has passed muster is peacenik actor Sean Penn, who was granted a carry permit last year by the Ross Police Department. In his license application, Penn cited threats that have been directed at him, particularly from an ex-employee whom Penn feared was trying to locate him. The actor said that if the fired assistant found him, "a physical confrontation, possibly involving weapons, would almost surely ensue." As first disclosed by the San Francisco Chronicle, Penn's application acknowledged two arrests and the "recreational use of marijuana," though the 42-year-old performer added that he "has not used any narcotics in the past 20 years." After providing police with a fingerprint card, a series of passport-sized photos, and proof of his attendance at a firearms training class, Penn got the legal okay to pack two gats, a .38-caliber Smith & Wesson and a 9mm Glock (which Penn misspelled as "Glok" in his application). Earlier this month, Penn's car was stolen in Berkeley and when the vehicle was recovered, the two guns were missing. The local cops were kind enough to remind Penn that, though his pieces had been pinched, his license was specifically for the two weapons, so he could not legally arm himself with a substitute sidearm. (7 pages)

Jim March
May 1, 2003, 02:43 AM
SIGH.

In my opinion, "The Smoking Gun" put out TOO MUCH info.

I have all of the same pages TSG put up. But in the letter I sent to Michael J. Ridgway, there was an introductory paragraph I didn't publish. No sense withholding it now:

------------------
Mr. Ridgway, I'm going to cite an open letter addressed to you, published on the Internet, below. Before I do, be aware that I will not be publishing or mentioning any material from your PRA response that would serve to put Mr. Penn at risk, such as the fact that his auto/gun theft has left him at least temporarily disarmed. While I'm concerned in general about what seems to be a statewide pattern of "elitism" in CCW issuance (of which this isn't anywhere near the worst I've seen), I mean Mr. Penn no personal ill will in this matter. This particular paragraph is something I'm sending to you alone.
------------------

So here's yet another reason to reform the shall-issue system: with the permit issuance handled fairly, the records get sealed because the right to privacy under the state constitution over-rides; the reasons the California Supreme Court gave for opening the records in CBS vs. Block (exposure of official wrongdoing and equal protection problems) no longer apply.

And no information could be released that puts people's lives at risk.

twoblink
May 1, 2003, 03:33 AM
Jim,

as always, I say the NRA should pay you to do quality footwork..

As for Penn..

If you have the money, you will get a ccw, that's the message I get from the Marin County Sheriff... :barf:

sm
May 1, 2003, 03:48 AM
Jim,
Good work.
Your time and research is appreciated.
Whittling away to find and share the truth.

Nathaniel Firethorn
May 1, 2003, 02:08 PM
http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?threadid=123369&highlight=gavin

- pdmoderator

Jim March
May 5, 2003, 08:52 AM
Thesmokinggun's Penn files are now at this URL (permanently, apparantly):

http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/pennpermit1.html

tyme
May 5, 2003, 11:47 AM
Text:

Section 7 - Investigator's Interview Notes
Attachment to Standard Application for CCW License ofr Sean Justin Penn
(Confidential - Not for Release to Public)

On November 7th, 2001, I met with Mr. Penn in my office regards his application for a CCW license. Mr. Penn is an actor who has appeared in many Hollywood movies and now owns his own film production company, Clyde is Hungry Films. Mr. Penn was at one time married to the film actress/singer Madonna and is now married to the film actress Robin Wright Penn.

In advance of our meeting, I was provided with and read a series of reports generated by Gavin De becker and Associates, a threat assessment firm employed by Mr. Penn to analyze and grade threats he receives as a result of his high profile public lifestyle. Those reports, which are copyrighted documents, were subsequently returned to Mr. Penn at the conclusion of our November 7th meeting. A cover letter received from Gavin De Becker and Associates relating to one particular threat assessment they conducted was however retained for review in this application file.

In the past several years, Mr. Penn has referred numberous suspicious letters and telephone messages to Gavin De Becker and Associates for threat assessment. Most were graded as having a low potential for threat, coming primarily from people who desired contact and association with Mr. Penn because of his celebrity status or financial position. One subject however was rated as being in the "worst category of pursuers". That person's name is [name].

[name] met Mr. Penn in the mid-1980's, and for a brief period of time was employed by Mr. Penn [4-5 words redacted]. [name] accompanied Mr. Penn on location to certain filming projects, but was subsequently released from his duties [1 line redacted].

Subsequent to his being terminated, Mr. [name] made numerous attempts to re-contact Mr. Penn. [four lines redacted]

After being terminated, [name] made threats that he [1.5 lines redacted].

Since then, Mr. [name] has repeatedly called Mr. Penn's personal assistant and other staff members in an effort to locate Mr. Penn. In [date1], [name] attempted personal contact with Mr. Penn in his former offices in San Francisco. Since then, and as recently as [date2], [name] has made several other attempts to contact Mr. Penn, each time asking about his family and requesting that he call him back.

During the [date3] call, [name], using the business telephone number for Mr. Penn's production company, told the receptionist he was in Los Angeles and wanted Mr. Penn to call him back. He also asked how Mr. Penn liked living in Ross, indicating he now knew the town in which Penn lived. This was the first such indication that [name] had given inferring he knew where Mr. Penn currently resided.

During each attempt to contact Mr. Penn, staff responded to [name] in the manner recommended by Gavin De Becker and associates, telling -name- they would see the proper person received his messages, but not promising it would be Penn who got them.

[name] is trained in martial arts and according to Gavin De Becker, currently has a non-extraditable warrant issued in [4-5 words redacted]. Gavin De Becker and Associates also reports [name] has prior arrests for possessing concealed weapons and is [two-thirds line redacted].

Gavin De Becker and Associates, while not being able to predict with certainty whether or when [name] will escalate his behavior, or exactly what his intentions are, feel there is more than enough unfavorable information available to warrant caution on the part of Mr. Penn, his family and his staff.

Mr. Penn indicated to me that he felt if [name] were able to successfully locate him, a physical confrontation, possibly involving weapons, would almost certainly ensue. Mr. Penn indicated his fear of that altercation stemmed from his having fired [name] [redacted] [redacted] [redacted] [redacted] [redacted] threats that he [redacted], [name]'s history of violent behavior, and his repeated attempts to reinitiate contact with him.

In discussing Mr. Penn's personal history with him, he admits the recreational use of marijuana, but states he has not used any narcotics in the past 20 years. Mr. Penn also admits a 1987 misdemeanor arrest in Los Angeles for a battery committed against a photographer who was attempting to photograph Mr. Penn and his then wife, Madonna. Mr. Penn said he was given probation, but later served a 30-day sentence for violating that probation after receiving a citation for reckless driving. Mr. Penn states he has had no other arrests since and denies any history of mental illness.

A subsequent check of automated criminal history files failed to produce any record of Mr. Penn's arrest in the State of California. Because of the admitted 1987 arrest and conviction for battery, I made requests to the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department to conduct a hand search of their records to determine whether or not additional contacts with their departments existed that had not been recorded by DOJ.

The Los Angeles Police Department said they had no record of contact with Mr. Penn and the Sheriff's Office reported only contacts related to the arrest and conviction for battery already admitted by Mr. Penn. A check of his driving record showed Mr. Penn had a valid driver's license that had no associated restrictions.

After completion of this investigation, it is my opinion the applicant is of good morale character, there exists good cause to issue the requested CCW license, and the applicant meets all the residence requirements to obtain said license from the issuing authority in Ross. Therefore, it is my recommendation Mr. Penn be allowed to continue on the application process and be awarded a CCW license upon completion of the required training programs.

<signature>
MICHAEL J. RIDGWAY, DIRECTOR
ROSS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY

(fingerprint card, DOB 08-17-1960, M, 5' 09", 195, BLU, BLK)
left fingerprints - LS IDX TP-600 50X50G8/#001125/081543
right fingerprints - HP LJIV/#USHB705598 /09451-1128...

(passport photos - 4)

(training certificate - Awarded to Sean Penn in compliance with Cal Pen. 12050 (a)(1)(E)(ii), dated 2002-01-30)

---
Ross Department of Public Safety Inter-Office Memorandum

To: Sean Penn's CCW File
From: Chief Michael Ridgway
Date: April 10th, 2003
Re: Theft of Firearms

On this date, I learned via various news reports that Mr. Penn's automobile was stolen from downtown Berkley (sic). Inside the car at the time were the two firearms listed on Mr. Penn's CCW Permit.

I telephoned "Sato", Mr. Penn's assistant, and advised her to caution Mr. Penn that the stolen firearms were the only two that he was authorized to carry and that if he were to arm himself with any other firearm that he owned pending the recovery of the two that were lost, he would be in violation of either 12025PC or 12031PC.

Sato explained to me that she had already had that conversation with Mr. Penn and he fully understood the limitations of the permit as it was currently written.

This memo if (sic) to be placed in Mr. Penn's CCW file for possible future reference.

<signature>

MICHAEL J. RIDGWAY, DIRECTOR
Ross Department of Public Safety.

QuickDraw
May 5, 2003, 12:04 PM
So the only thing that Ross PD is worried about is that Mr.Penn
not carry any other firearms?What baloney.If it were you or I
in that situation,causing unwanted attention to the CLEO,
unsafe storage of a loaded firearm etc.,they would have yanked that permit in a heart beat!
I live in Marin county,maybe I should go see if I can get a permit.
(I called the sherrifs dept. once and asked,the woman that answered laughed at me when I asked!)
Oh wait,I haven't admitted to smoking pot,been arrested(ever!)
or assaulted anyone.
Welcome to Bizzarro World!

QuickDraw

Drizzt
May 5, 2003, 04:35 PM
Mosaic 2000: A Tyrant's Tool
by Eric P. Anderson

Recently, the California-based Gavin de Becker, Inc. announced the development of a computer program called Mosaic 2000 in conjunction with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF). Testing of the software was expected to begin at over 20 schools in December. The software rates whether a student will be potentially violent on a scale of 1 to 20, based on the answers to questions asked of administrators.

The company claims that this software will not be used for labeling in any way. In their words, the software is designed "for use only in situations in which students make threats or otherwise come to the attention of the school as possible security risks". One must question how the students "come to the attention of the school as possible security risks". One well-known way is that students who are different are bound to be labeled as potential threats and then evaluated with this software. Even James Perrotti, chief of police at Yale University, who himself helped create the questions used by the system, said, "It's easy to pick out the gang members with tattoos. It's these other people that kind of surprise administrators, and these are the ones they really need to identify." The implication is that the presence of a tattoo is a factor already being used by administrators to label students. Who is to say that this software will not be used on someone who wears clothing that is not part of the norm?

Another concern is that it cannot be guaranteed that this software will be properly used by administrators. Those students throughout the country who have been suspended and even expelled for making uncomplimentary comments about their schools and school administrators on their personal websites created from home could tell you that this cannot be counted upon. A student that is different but is not causing any problems should not be treated as a problem. Another problem with the reasoning behind this software is that its method is considered to be objective. The fact remains that the criteria used for evaluation is subjective. While it is true that more than 150 indicators are used, the fact remains that every one of the indicators is subjective, and indicate different things for different students. One must suspect that the intent of the software is to make it more difficult to question the judgments given by school officials, which are now supposedly objective because a computer program is involved.

Gavin de Becker, Inc. claims that Mosaic cannot brand students as dangerous and that it only evaluates a situation. Unfortunately, in an ideal world this might be the case, but in the real world where administrators and officials are human beings, it is unrealistic to expect the software to be used fairly, assuming that it even could be used fairly. The company claims that in order "to sway Mosaic 2000, a dishonest evaluator would have to lie on forty specific and fully documented questions". Would you trust the future of your son and daughter to your confidence that an administrator, who has probably labeled your child in order to use the program in the first place, will be completely objective and truthful in answering the forty questions, or even have the knowledge to do so? It is very telling that the company does not provide a list of the questions to the public.

Profiling of young people is no different than racial and ethnic profiling, and it is morally wrong. Profiling someone to predict whether they will commit a crime or be dangerous is contrary to the concept of innocent until proven guilty, as well as due process. It is wrong for a school to punish a student who has done nothing except be different. Schools should only act when there is a case of imminent danger to students and faculty, or the student has actually committed an offense.

Mr. de Becker has written a book entitled, "Protecting the Gift: Keeping Children and Teenagers Safe". Unfortunately, one must question whether children and teenagers need to be kept safe from Mosaic 2000 itself. The software is scheduled for final release in March, and may be coming to a school near you. In the meantime, you can contact Robert Martin at Gavin de Becker, Inc. to tell him what you think of Mosaic 2000.


http://www.asfar.org/zine/1st/mosaic.html

Jim March
May 5, 2003, 04:43 PM
OK, so let's get this straight:

Gavin De Becker supposedly knows how to write a computer program to determine whether or not Little Johnny will go postal or not, but they can't tell that Sean Penn is a dangerous screwball and hence urged that he be armed?

Uhhhhh....OK. Somebody oughta inform BATFE of this bizarre quirk :rolleyes:.

sm
May 5, 2003, 05:17 PM
quote: ,... it is unrealistic to expect the software to be used fairly, assuming that it even could be used fairly..."
----
Hummm...add ties to BATF, "programed", and the axiom " garbage in/garbage out"....One gets the "desired' results...sniff, sniff...

I smell it...anyone else?

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