About this blog — Why this blog, how to use it, highlights, objectives
Posted by Arroyoribera on September 8, 2007
This blog — SpokanePoliceAbuses.wordpress.org — will “celebrate” two months of existence in a few days. The number of hits received will soon surpass 3000, or about 50 per day. It has been an interesting experience researching local law enforcement and pondering the realities (better named “illusions) of civilian control, democracy, and justice in our society and this community of Spokane.
This blog is built largely around a chronology of incidents involving the Spokane Police Department and other law enforcement. The chronology is entitled Laying out the case… . It is a work in progress and is updated regularly. For example, yesterday I added the 1962 killing of the Puerto Rican airman Oliguibeet A. Lopez-Pacheco Vera by the Spokane and Fairchild AFB police officers.
It is a good time to reflect on this experience, explain more about my motivation in creating the blog, look at what blogs are and how easy they are to create, and how to use this blog in particular. I also will discuss the postings I consider of greatest importance from an informational and from a philosophical point of view. Finally I will talk about the objectives of this blog and broader goals in regards to the situation of law enforcement in the Spokane area as well as global democracy.
The Blog Experience
Of course, I — like most users of the internet — have read numerous blogs in the past. From the inane to the insane and from the phony to the up-to-the-minute latest on anything and everything, blogs have proliferated, now numbering in the tens of millions.
I have made two prior attempts at creating my own blogs and both are still up and available for reading, though both are recently unattended and neglected, something for which I apologize. I intend to devote time to both in the near future.
The first blog I undertook was “On the Air with Thin Air”. There I posted information regarding KYRS 92.3 FM, a wonderful but troubled local “community” FM radio station. This blog was created on the free BlogSpot blog platform. Blogspot is now a Google property. I have been please with the functionality of the software, though I chose not to use it for my next two blogging efforts. I expect to continue to add to this blog particularly in light of the recent management crisis there.
My second foray into the world of blogging I entitled “Spanking the Spokesman” which deals with the Cowles’ family newspaper dynasty in Spokane. This blog got me started, allowed me to try out the free WordPress blog platform, and to address one of the other major powers in Spokane, besides the police, the Spokesman-Review’s daily newspaper monopoly.
I have had various troubling interactions with the Spokane Police Department and other area law enforcement agencies over the years. I have also closely followed their violent and corrupt recent history. At KYRS, I and other programmers have aired round table discussions and conducted interviews related to the Spokane Police Department’s conduct.
The death of Otto Zehm in March 2006 as well as the deaths of several others before and after Zehm’s death have created a deep feeling of distrust and in some cases fear in the community. White middle class professionals in Spokane are heard expressing their fear of police and describe turning a corner rather than risk having a police car follow them or cross their path.
Anytime information increases, the difficulty of locating it, synthesizing it, remembering it, sharing it and understanding it also increase. Clearly this was beginning to happen with the issues of the Spokane Police Department. Chiefs and mayors had come and gone. The city’s Human Rights Commission had been purged and then fallen into irrelevance. A police-controlled and police-run Police Advisory Committee has met for two decades pretending to serve as a sounding board for the police while purporting to represent “diverse” communities within Spokane. At the same time, a Citizen’s Advisory Commission has failed to meet during the course of 10 years of police abuse, impunity, corruption, and cover-up.
With all of this occurring and with no where to go for information other than to the secretive police themselves or the incompetent and self-interested city government, I decided to create this, my third blog.
What is a Blog?
According to Wikipedia:
A blog (a portmanteau of web log) is a website where entries are written in chronological order and commonly displayed in reverse chronological order. “Blog” can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog.
Blogs provide commentary or news on a particular subject such as food, politics, or local news; some function as more personal online diaries. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, web pages, and other media related to its topic. The ability for readers to leave comments in an interactive format is an important part of many blogs. Most blogs are primarily textual, although some focus on art (artlog), photographs (photoblog), sketchblog, videos (vlog), music (MP3 blog), or audio (podcasting), and are part of a wider network of social media. Micro-blogging is another type of blogging which consists of blogs with very short posts.
There are numerous blog platforms, essentially pre-formatted, user-friendly programs for the creation of an attractive, readable, multi-function webpage, just like the three I have set up. SpokanePoliceAbuses was up and running within less than twenty minutes. In addition to WordPress and BlogSpot, other blog platforms include Serendipity, Drupal, Collablog, etc. Blogs can be used as collaborative projects, a communication tool between colleagues or family, or as a way to present information and commentary to readers around the world. A blog can require that people register before getting access or can be completely open. Comments can be allowed or not. Most blogs have a feature for tracking statistics on usage, such as the number of people visiting the site.
For additional basic information on blogs, I recommend the Wikipedia entry for “blog” at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blog
How to use this blog
You will note that this blog is laid out in reverse chronology. There are currently some 71 posts. You can read the posts in order — newest to oldest — by simply scrolling down the home page. At the bottom, you will need to click on “previous entries” to continue to the next page of posts.
There is a search box on the upper right hand side of the blog where you can type in a word or name. For example, if you type in “Olaguibeet”, you will be taken to a post entitled “Laying Out the Case” where I have recently added the January 15, 1962 death of Olaguibeet Angel Lopez-Pacheco Vera, a 24 year old Fairchild AFB airman shot and killed by Spokane Police and a Fairchild police sergeant on suspicion of robbery. Lopez father later filed an FBI complaint related to alleged civil rights abuses. Both men were Puerto Rican pro-independence advocates. It was later revealed that Lopez father, the distinguished Puerto Rican veterinarian Olaguibeet Angel Lopez Pacheco, was a member of an organization which was the target of FBI Cointelpro activities starting in the late 1950s.
You can also go to the right column and click on the months to read the posts just from a particular month.
Or you can scan the categories on the left side of the page for one that interests you. Depending on how I have labeled different items, they may appear under more than one category.
Perhaps you would just prefer to receive an RSS feed of new posts to this blog. Per Wikipedia, an RSS feed is (quote) “a family of Web feed formats used to publish frequently updated content such as blog entries, news headlines or podcasts. An RSS document, which is called a “feed”, “web feed”, or “channel”, contains either a summary of content from an associated web site or the full text. RSS makes it possible for people to keep up with their favorite web sites in an automated manner that’s easier than checking them manually. ” (end quote)
You can subscribe to the RSS feed of this blog (SpokanePoliceAbuses.wordpress.com) by clicking on this link https://spokanepoliceabuses.wordpress.com/feed/ and subscribing.
Another feature of this blog is the hyperlinks embedded in the blog. A hyperlink is the address of another website or blog or video which is embedded in my blog post. Most all hyperlinks on this blog are blue. All you need to do is click on the hyperlink to be taken to the other website or blog or video. if you touch the link with your pointer but do not click on it, in most cases you will see a small version of the website and can decide from there if you want to actually visit the site. The small version is not always the exact page you will be directed to if you do click on the link but it is always the same site.
On the right hand side of the page is a list called “BlogRoll”. There you will find names of blogs which I have found worthwhile and informative. The majority deal with justice, police matters, international affairs, and the media.
I have been experimenting with a couple “widgets”. A widget is a little program or virtual device which allows you to carry out some task. In this case I am using a map feature called “MapKit” which allows me to plot out different locations on a map of Spokane. To see the map and the locations on it with some text description of the events which occurred there, click below the map at the words “See Big Map”. I have added six locations to date, including the sites of the killings of Otto Zehm, Eagle Michael, and Jerome Alford, as well as the locations of police abuses of protesters at two locations in summer 2007.
Posts of Importance
Of course, this list is entirely subjective. I encourage you to review the entire blog as I believe that everything I have written myself or reproduced from other sources is of importance. I have tried to avoid wasting my time and yours with trivia or insignificant information.
Nevertheless, some of the posts I consider most important at SpokanePoliceAbuses.wordpress.com are: