Saturday, March 31, 2007

UESDAY, MARCH 27, 2007

Inside the Line with Ron Stewart

CFL seasons: 12
Games Played: 164
Grey Cup Record: 4 - 3
All Canadian: None

Cushy Post-CFL Government Handout: Prison Ombudsman
Number Of Workdays Loafing At Cottage: 300
Wasted Taxpayers Dollars: $325,000

Favorite Saying: "If there's a prison riot just holler for me across the lake!"

Ron Stewart... truly a great Canadian


MONDAY, MARCH 26, 2007

Spring is Here!

And if your anything like Timothy Wayne Shepherd, it's time to get the grill out and burn the bodies.

(warning: this story has a "yuck" factor of 11 )


SUNDAY, MARCH 25, 2007

Live Through This
Hi John,

this is going to sound stupid, but I am living out in LA and I>am a working actor.....I also in my spare time have applied to be a>police officer in several departments......This is going to sound>stupid, but I have a gift, i can't explain it...i just am able to figure>things out sometimes. i briefly read your article about your sister and>i was wondering.....was there anything religous involved with her> it at the schene or in her life. If so, with your permission,>i was wondering if you would email me a brief sypnosis of what>heppened...I might be able to help. If not, you will be no worse of with>your inquiry then you are today.>>i'm not an investigator, however I have a unique way of seeing and>observing things and I also am able to decifer between fake things and>evidence. While working and trying to start an acting career I have from>personal family incidents become very interested in helping to solve>cold cases and may be involved in that type of work in the next few>years. Perhaps when there is a new administration in our country.>>I don't want to pry into your family tragedy, i just thought I might be>able to help.

>>Regards,>Ryan O'Neil>>-- >

Ryan O'Neil>



No offense, but I get all kinds of these inquiries, and a lot of them are from people who wish to make a name for themselves. Or they want to help, but can't really help.

So here's the deal: show me a case in the past where you were able to help, where you were able to bring some end to a cold case.

Then maybe we can dance. Fair enough?

Thanks you for your interest,

John A



And the Wolverine Task Force's accomplishments were what exactly?

Gang violence in Montreal has jumped in last 2 years

Presse Canadienne
Published: Saturday, March 24, 2007

The number of attempted murders related to street gangs doubled in Montreal between 2004 and 2006, police statistics show.

According to the data, 58 attempted murders were believed to be gang-related last year, compared to 29 in 2004 and 42 in 2005.

So far this year, eight attempted murders have be linked to gangs. Since January, 10 of 12 homicides committed in Montreal are also the result of gang fights.


A friend in Los Angeles did this mock-up of a poster:

Whadya think?



Titles for Reseach Papers.... (I have yet to write)

1. If You Fund It We Will Come: Canada's National Crime Prevention Strategy and the failure of Program Evaluation

2. Double Wide Determinism: Are Trailer Parks Cultural or Structural Failures?

3. The People in your Neighborhood: Are Quebec's Hells Angels a Gang or a Community?

4. The Red White and Blue Elephant in the Room: Why Canadians Ignore American Criminological Findings

5. 1977 - The Parti Quebecois and the Year the Quiet Revolution Gagged


"The great advantage of the sociological perspective, in our view, is that it requires that attention be paid to both of the fundamental features of any organized social system: people's beliefs, values, goals - the stuff of culture - and the positions and roles that people occupy in society- what sociologists term "social structure."... The focus on both culture and social structure, and on the interplay between them, has been an invaluable analytical tool for evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of influencial explanations of crime..."

Messner and Rosenfeld
Crime and the American Dream, 1997

Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. This is the kernal of why 3 murders and 20 - 30 sexual assaults against women in the Eastern Townships circa 1977 - 1980 have gone unanswered for 28 years.



It wouldn't surprise me

More great stuff revealed by Eric Muller over at Is That Legal?,including the discovery of his great-uncle's WWI army medals in a German archive.

This got me thinking. What are the odds that Eric's great uncle Leo who served in the German army and my great-uncle Thomas who died as a Canadian soldier at Vimy Ridge had each other in their sights across the trenches over 90 years ago?


Upcoming Conference

I snuck in a proposal at the bell for the American Society of Criminology's November conference in Atlanta:

Category Subcategory: Victimization (XVI), Victim-Related Programs and Policies (66)

Title: Criminal Investigative Failures: 

Victims, Law Enforcement and Do-It-Yourself Justice


This paper takes the form of personal ethnography. My sister, Theresa Allore disappeared from the campus of a small liberal arts college in the southeastern region of Quebec, Canada on Friday, November 3rd, 1978. Five months later her body was found by the side of the road less than a mile from the student residence where she lived. Though a medical-legal cause of death was never determined, it is probable that Theresa had been strangled.

Though police at the time dismissed Theresa’s death as a drug / suicide, current examination of the case has revealed that she was the victim of a serial sexual predator who has possibly been active in the Quebec region for the past 28 years.

This presentation examines the role of the victim as criminal investigator, when families lose faith in the investigative abilities of police agencies. The presentation is from the publication, Criminal Investigative Failures, currently in press with Taylor & Francis,
K. D. Rossmo (Ed.), Oxford, UK.

Author: John Allore

affiliation/addresses: Graduate student / Justice Administration
North Carolina State.University



On Your Radio

So you can tune in tonight on satellite radio to hear me live.

Actually, it's pre-recorded so don't phone in with you questions.

(just kiddin': It's not a call-in show):

March 20, 2007

Episode 28:
Guest: John Allore
Brother of murdered Theresa Allore


MONDAY, MARCH 19, 2007

Theories of Deviance (Criminology)

I have a big mid-term this evening. So I thought I'd try to write what I know down here off the top of my head as a little prep work:

Theories of deviant behavior have there origins in two controversial and conflicting theories: social control and differential association theory. Social control theory - with roots in psychology and Freud - has been championed by Travis Hirschi in two works, Causes of Delinquency and A General Theory of Crime (with Gottfredson). Where most crime theories ask why do people commit crimes?, Hirschi inverts the question and posits, What prevents people from committing criminal acts? Hirschi uses a Hobbesian model of human behavior, wherein all men have deviant wants and desires, but a social contract bonds humans to a consensus belief structure. Man's life would be "solitary, nasty, brutish and short" where it not for strong social bonding that keep men on a straight and narrow path. Thus, normative behavior is maintained through faith in central social structures (the family, social institutions) and a central culture (one unifying believe system derived from laws and conformity).

In contrast Edwin Sutherland's Differential Association Theory (DAT) is much less centered on conforming values and normative behavior. Sutherland was less focused on the cause of criminal behavior and more attuned to the process by which such behavior is acquired and transmitted. Developed through a series of nine statements over many years, Sutherland's central thesis is that crime is learned in the same manner that other learning is acquired, and that it is transmitted within social groups. Unlike social control theory which hints at elements of determinism, DAT considers that humans are open to the possibility of learning criminal behavior depending on four factors; the frequency of exposure to criminal behavior, the duration of that exposure, the priority of it (were such behaviors learned early in life), and the intensity or priority of the learning. These variables work on the individual and thus determine the probability that he or she may turn to social deviance.

These two theories are a sort of nature vs. nurture argument, with Hirschi arguing the determinist, "born bad" position, while Sutherland argued that individuals were born with a blank slate, and through social conditioning could be influenced into criminal acts. Of the two, Hirschi's argument is a a more individual approach to crime; strong bonding, particularly with parents at a young age, will help prevent adolescents from pursuing criminal outcomes. Sutherland's is the more sociological argument; social systems can influence individuals and lead to criminal behavior.

Both theories have much to offer, but also many facets that are problematic for criminological thinking. Social control is more "cause" oriented and thus easier to test through traditional methods of experimentation (samples, control groups, observations). Sutherland's work was developed more through loose questioning of basic assumptions of behavior, and thus less open to classic experimental testing. This has led many critics to question DAT's validity. Yet despite early problems with measurement and operationalizing DAT, many later empirical tests of the theory have improved on these problems and demonstrated evidence that social learning exists.

In later years, Sutherland and his supporters expanded DAT beyond the individual learning process. Differential Group Organization (DGS) attempts to demonstrate how learning can migrate to the macro, aggregate level. DGS has its origins in the industrial revolution, where rapid economic expansion led to massive accumulation of wealth in western societies. This expansion led to an increasingly fractured society wherein an increasing separation between the haves and have nots (the creation of a class structure, and thus cultural strain) was created. DGO leads to the inevitable creation of subcultures, societies that compete and at time contradict with the central, law abiding consensus culture. In subculture theory, groups come to embrace a value system that is different from the central / middle-class value system imagined under control theory. Subcultures that are unable to attain wealth, power and success by legitimate purposes, come to achieve these means through illegitimate, and ultimately deviant measures.

It is through differential group organization that Sutherland falls in most sharp contrast to Hirschi and control theory. For control theorists there can only ever be one structure and culture held as constant; the traditional family structure and its support systems and the central consensus culture derived through law. In contrast, DGO allows for many cultures and structures that are all variable in there influence, and can thus influence each other. Structure can be determined by social class, by race, by family headship (two parent, single headship); culture is the accumulation of shared values of a community, and may be as variant as the imagination will allow.

It is not hard to see how these two approaches have been through the years co-opted for political advantage. At it's worst, control theory - with it's determinism and focus on one, unifying belief systems - becomes a tool of conservative thought There is only one view, one value system - relying heavily on a belief systems that appears moralistic - and society must bend to this structure, this culture's will. In contrast, social learning theory is a liberal position; an inclusive theory that allows for every shade of belief system imaginable. It's theories can't be tested, but they are known to the devout through "testing" by "hippie" ethnographies and cultural acceptance.

Fortunately the truth meets a little more in the middle with these approaches, and over the years much scholarly attention has been devoted to test, augment, and improve these criminological methods.

Beginning with Akers, social learning theory has been added to by introducing elements of individual behavioral science to the Sutherland. Akers - introducing psychological aspects of BF Skinner's work - realised that not only was crime learned, but that learning could be improved / detracted from through positive and negative reinforcement. 

So too with Hirschi, who in his second major work, A General Theory of Crime distilled down his control theory to its origins, simply allowing that crime is committed by individuals with low self-control, and that individuals prone to low self control tend to be impulsive risk takers - self-centered, volatile - who prefer physical activity, and that low self control was introduced withing the first 6 - 8 years of life, at which time it was set for life (one wonders why it took Hirschi 30 years to realize what for most of us seems like common sense, but ours is not to contemplate the motivations of academia...)

Hirschi's most devoted champion - some might call her his flying monkey - has been Ruth Kornhauser. Though she only published on work, 1978's Social Sources of Delinquency, Kornhasuer has been a thorn in the side of social learning for the past 30 years. Kornhauser's main contribution seems to have been taking later theories that showed support for social learning and hijacking them to demonstrate support for Hirschi.

Beginning in 1957 with the work of Sykes and Matza who introduced Neutralization or Drift theory to explain how criminals neutralize the effects of shame or guilt on their actions, both Kornhauser and Hirschi have argued that drift theory is actually control theory in drag, and what looks like pre-neutralization for anticipated criminal actions is actually post-justification for deeds already done. Thus attempts by criminals to deny responsibility, injury, a victim, to blame the condemners or appeal to an alternate authority are actually evidences that individuals are weakly socially bonded to a central conforming value system.

Further, Kornhauser has suggested that work by Thrasher, Sampson, Bursik and Grasmick focused on social disorganization and cultural transmission is evidence that social control is the dominant theory in criminological thinking. Key to these theories is the underlying assumption of a dominant, normative belief system that unifies a community. Where Kornhauser would argue that this belief system is Hirschi's social consensus according to law, detractors disagree and say Kornhauser's interpretation is too extreme (communities have a broad interpretation of concensus; "A lifestyle free from threatening crimes").

Many later studies have gone on to demonstrate the validity of social disorganization and cultural transmission as examples of social learning. In two empirical studies Karen Heimer (later with De Coster) demonstrated the interrelation and variability of class and structure on inner-city communities. Heimer showed how community disadvantage, social capital, and criminogenic elements could influence levels of youth violence; where structural elements (family, race, female headship) could reduce disadvantage, social capital (strong community involvement at the private, parochial and public level) could reduce youth violence, and exposure to crime culture could increase youth violence.

Much debate exists over which is the dominate theory in criminal deviance theory, social control or social learning. Such all-or-nothing arguments lead to theoretical short-sightedness, it is better to learn from the contributions of both approaches and apply them as necessary toward a greater understanding of criminal behavior. Hirschi's approaches is more centered on an individual, consensus model, attempting to explain a person's position in a unifying social order. Sutherland argues from a group, learning position wherein social structures compete to influence the motives and behaviors of cultures. One hopes that future research an empirical study will help to clarify the positions and relations of these two theories withing the sociological discipline.


FRIDAY, MARCH 16, 2007

This is Cause for Celebration?

Canada is just now getting a victims ombudsman?


J'ai une ame solitaire

You bet I'll shed a tear for Brad Delp. Side one of Boston's debut got me through 1976:

More Than A Feelin'
Peace of Mind
Long Time

Mmm... very fine. 

Bon voyage M. Delp.



So hologramic, oh my TVC15

I got dumped by my therapist. She had more problems than me and could no longer commit to afternoons. Six months of talking about my past and we never even got to EMDR.

Not that that's her fault. Apparently with EMDR the process involves identifying triggers (images, etc...) that are painful, and then doing some voodoo treatment to neutralize the negative effects. The result is you can keep your memories, but the bad associations are removed.

Ya, there are problems with this, not the least of which is I don't necessarily have images that trouble me (life's not like a movie where you flash on a bunch of psychotic imagery). I remember feelings mostly, and I don't really want that taken away. Also, I have associations with practically everything in my past that are mixed with ennui.

Never was this more apparent than my recent foray into the world of Ebay. It began sort of as a joke. We have so much junk around the house that I decided to test some of it on Ebay before hauling it off to the thrift shop. The joke ended when I earned close to $300 from some old Wacky Packages cards I had when I was a kid. So then for more giggles I put these up:

That's right. It's part of my bottle cap collection and it brought in twenty bucks. My Dad asked for a finders fee since he was the one that drunk these in the 60s and 70s.

Trouble started when I put up for sale old comics and hockey cards. With the cards I couldn't figure out why in many cases there were three sets of everything (hence having extras to sell), until my Mom pointed out that some of the cards were Theresa's (I am the "guardian" of the 2nd set; my brother's). Yesterday I sold a bunch of Casper, Richie Rich and Little Dot comics and then realized that these were most likely Theresa's.

Now I'm paranoid about selling some of the stuff. I noticed that one of the Archie's had Theresa's name scribbled on it and I've started to read through piles of Betty and MeLaugh and Pep in search of little clues, foot prints to our past.

This is absurd of course, I should just dump the lot of it. I can't keep everything, it's all going to rot away so why not make a little money and clear it out of the house? But I feel so guilty about it. And it brings back memories both good and bad. For instance I remembered that we hated the moralistic Archies - the ones (usually around Christmas) that had some preachy message: Dilton Doily and the Gift of the Magi. Theresa always called them "sucky"; we preferred the straight up jokes with Reggie cracking wise.

I remember when W-Five came to film in Chapel Hill and I pulled out Theresa's old pogo stick and started bouncing 'round the drive-way. It was shortly after that that they departed. I think they thought I slipped a gear. The pogo stick I'll never sell - my last Christmas present to Theresa, thirty bucks at Fairview Mall.

Comics, trading cards, old toys; these things can send me into a tailspin. I don't even see it coming. The stuff brings me great pleasure, it's not until a couple of days later when I've sunk into depression that I realize the damage done.

That's not right. Can't psychology come up with something to take away the side effects of that?

Most addicts say they feed their addictions to satisfy an emptiness, a hole deep inside. You can pretty much guess what's in my hole, and in my life I've used every addiction (save drugs: drugs were taboo - ironically because of a misconception that Theresa died from drugs) you can imagine to plug that hole. The process of recovery is maddening. I just want to be like other people. I want my memories, I want a balanced life. I also want to look at the past without the prospect of being destroyed by it.

Why is something so simple so very hard?

The header for this post is a David Bowie song, TVC15, which goes like this:

One of these nights I may just
Jump down that rainbow way,
Be with my baby,
We'll spend some time together

One of Theresa's favorites, I listened to it on the way in to work this morning. I should be able to listen to it without self-injury.

(with thanks to my good friend Eric who is posting some wonderful stuff about his great uncle Leo over at Is That Legal?)


MONDAY, MARCH 12, 2007

Photo of the Year:

Alley Fight Leaves Winnipeg Man Dead


FRIDAY, MARCH 09, 2007

As Kate Zernike notes in this morning's New York Times,

take away federal funding, strain SES, ignore the education crisis, and throw in a methamphetamine epidemic in the heartland and this is what you get.



Crime Victims Radio

The thing I love about Missing Pieces Radio is that host Todd Matthews takes the time to allow his guests to discuss the issues that are important to them. Think NPR's The Story with a concentrated focus on unsolved, missing or murder crime cases (... and Dick Gordon speaking with a southern drawl.)

The program is an hour format, airing Tuesday evening's at 8:00 pm. Past guests have included Wayne Leng and Holly Desimone ( you can listen to archived programs at the website).

I am looking forward to my hour when I will be the guest on March 20th.

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