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This is America: 9 out of 10 public schools now hold mass shooting drills for students

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How "active shooter" drills became normal for a generation of American schoolchildren.
"Are you kids good at running and screaming?" a police officer asks a class of elementary school kids in Akron, Ohio.
His friendly tone then turns serious.
“What I don’t want you to do is hide in the corner if a bad guy comes in the room,” he says. "You gotta get moving."
This training session — shared online by the ALICE Training Institute, a civilian safety training company — reflects the new normal at American public schools. As armed shooters continue their deadly rampages, and while Washington remains stuck on gun control, a new generation of American students have learned to lock and barricade their classroom doors the same way they learn to drop and roll in case of a fire.
The training session is a stark reminder of how American schools have changed since the 1999 Columbine school shooting. School administrators and state lawmakers have realized that a mass shoot…

Singaporean drug trafficker executed at Changi Prison for heroin offence

Muhammad Ridzuan Md Ali
Muhammad Ridzuan Md Ali
SINGAPORE - Singaporean drug trafficker Muhammad Ridzuan Md Ali, 31, was executed at Changi Prison on Friday (May 19), having exhausted all avenues of appeal following his conviction in 2013.

Ridzuan had been found guilty in the High Court of trafficking in 72.50 grams of pure heroin and sentenced to death by the High Court on April 10, 2013.

The Misuse of Drugs Act provides for the death penalty if the amount of diamorphine trafficked is more than 15 grams.

The Central Narcotics Bureau said yesterday that 72.50 grams of diamorphine is equivalent to about 6,004 straws, which is sufficient to feed the addiction of about 864 abusers for a week.

"This is estimated using a typical purity level of four per cent, based on drug seizures in recent years. The number of straws made may vary according to the purity level of the heroin," added CNB.

His appeal against conviction and sentence was dismissed by the Court of Appeal on Feb 27, 2014 but in April that year, Ridzuan sought leave from the High Court to start judicial review proceedings against the Public Prosecutor's decision not to grant him a certificate of substantive assistance.

The High Court dismissed the application on July 17, 2014 and in Oct 2015, the Court of Appeal rejected his appeal.

On Jan 8, 2016, Ridzuan took his case to the Court of Appeal for the third time by way of a criminal motion for the Court of Appeal to review its decisions on his appeals, on grounds that the Misuse of Drugs Act provisions under which he was sentenced to death were unconstitutional.

The apex court dismissed the criminal motion on Dec 2, 2016. He submitted a petition for clemency to the President which was unsuccessful.

"Muhammad Ridzuan was accorded full due process under the law, and he was represented by legal counsel throughout the process," said the CNB.

Source: Straits Times, May 19, 2017


EU statement contradicts S'pore Govt's claim that death penalty is "deterrent" to crime


Singapore's Changi Prison
Singapore's Changi Prison
There is no evidence that the death penalty is a deterrent to crime, said the European Union Delegation to Singapore on Thursday.

The statement, issued together with the EU Heads of Mission and the Head of Mission of Norway, was in response to the plea by anti-death penalty advocates on the then impending execution of Muhammad Ridzuan on Friday morning.

It was a last-minute attempt by the activists, who had also written to the Singapore President, to save Ridzuan's life after he had been sentenced to death for trafficking in heroin into Singapore.

The appeal was denied and Ridzuan was hanged on Friday morning.

The Singapore Government's defence of the death penalty for drugs (and other crimes such as murder) has always been based on the claim that it deters criminals and crime, even though there has not been conclusive proof of such effect.

This, however, has not dissuade Government ministers from making such claims each time the issue is debated.

For example, in 2012, when Parliament was debating changes to the Misuse of Drugs Act (MDA), Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean told the House that:

"Singaporeans understand that the death penalty has been an effective deterrent and an appropriate punishment for very serious offences, and largely support it."

A recent research by the National University of Singapore (NUS), however, found that support for the death penalty was more "nuanced".

For example, the research found:

"Although 70 % of those surveyed said they were in general favour of the death penalty, very few expressed strong views either way, researchers said. Of those in favour, just 8 % said they were strongly in favour; of those that were against it, just 3 % said they strongly opposed." (CNA)

The survey also found that there was "weak support for the mandatory death penalty for drug trafficking and firearms offences in particular, where no death or injury had occurred."

Yet, the Singapore Government continues to make 2 claims - 1st, that the death penalty is a "strong deterrent", and 2nd, that Singaporeans support it.


EU statement


The EU, on its part, "holds a principled position against the death penalty and is opposed to the use of capital punishment under any circumstances."

"No compelling evidence exists to show that the death penalty serves as a deterrent to crime," it said in its statement.

"Furthermore, any errors - inevitable in any legal system - are irreversible. The EU will continue in its pursuit of the abolition of the death penalty worldwide."

Ridzuan


Muhammad Ridzuan's case is particularly troubling because he was arrested and charged for the same crime as his accomplice, Abdul Haleem, who was spared the death penalty because - in the eyes of the Public Prosecutor - Abdul Haleem had "substantively assisted" the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) in "disrupting" drugs syndicates within Singapore or outside Singapore.

Ridzuan, for unknown reasons because the Prosecutor is not required to explain his decision, was deemed not to have "substantively assisted" the CNB, and thus had no recourse to have his death sentence commuted.

The Prosecutor's decision is made behind closed doors and the law explicitly states that his decision is not opened to review, even by the Court of Appeal.

Family, friends and supporters had gathered outside Changi Prison on Friday morning as the execution of Ridzuan was carried out.

Source: theindependent.sg, May 20, 2017

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