Thursday, August 27, 2009

Back To School Excitement

“It’s the most wonderful time of year.”  Yes, we’re talking about back-to-school. But don’t feel guilty: you know it’s true!  And it’s not just the most wonderful time of year for you -- it’s the most wonderful time  for our kids, too.  Why?  Because kids love stucture!  They love schedules, certainty, and routines.  And since we’re all kids deep down inside, we like structure, too!  

So, as your kids begin their school year, take a moment to add a “New School Year” resolution.  Perhaps it’s setting clothes out the night before, waking up 10 minutes earlier, coming up with a homework regimen. Whatever it is, don’t wait for January 1st to make a subtle (but meaningful) change or two. 

And for all you non-parents, or parents of adult children, use this as a time to reconfigure your life!  Think of one small thing you can do to relieve the stress, the craziness, or tensions in your life.  Maybe it’s adding an automatic email response on weekends that says, “It’s the weekend. I am relaxing/am with my family, and I’ll return your email on Monday.” 

If that’s too extreme, you can include an evening stroll with a loved one, a spouse, a friend or just solo after dinner.  Whatever it is…take a moment to make this new school year a happy one!

I know you’re probably wondering why Robin, the true crime expert, is writing about  such “fluffy” stuff.  Well, as I read the LA Times today about the snafus that VH1 made in identifying Jasmine Fiore’s (alleged) killer, Ryan Jenkins, when checking his background, I wondered how these “snafus” could keep happening time and time again. 

VH1 blamed it on “clerical” errors. Hmmm. This is the third story of “clerical“ errors in the LA Times in one month that resulted in a tragic death: Lily Burke, Dea’Von Bailey, and now Jasmine.  And while I address these in more detail in my Huffington Post piece, I still can’t help thinking that if people (clerks, included) made meaningful changes in their lives—both professionally and personally—perhaps we would see a newspaper with no reports of deaths due to “clerical” errors.

For that matter, let’s all take inventory, make changes, and make this the most wonderful year we’ve ever had.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Crimes Against Children’s Conference

I just spent four days in Dallas at the Crimes Against Children’s Conference where 4,000 people (mainly law enforcement, prosecutors, and social workers) gathered together to work towards bettering our system and society on behalf of children.  The energy and the people were phenomenal.

But what struck me so forcefully was the need to network, connect, and lean on our colleagues.  Despite the fact that we are in an economic crisis, professionals, advocates, and others should get together and meet to share ideas , to brainstorm, to vent….to grow. I have found that you can always find someone you can connect with, regardless of the makeup of a group.

In addition to the educational benefits at seminars, there is another, more important benefit: getting to know your colleagues and hang out with them, both professionally and person.  There is tremendous gain for everyone when you take the time to get to know the people around you.

In a time where we achieve most of our connectedness via digital devices—computers, pda’s and cell phones, I suggest we get out of our offices, off our chairs, and away from our computer screens to get out and meet people.  Whether an author, advocate, lawyer, entertainer, a business person, or a parent—all of us need the support of others.   Whether you have a conference or seminar to go to or not, create opportunities to meet people.  Make coffee dates and lunch plans and connect with people.  There are amazing people out there doing amazing things and you should know about them!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Debate Over My Economist Article Response

Most people know that I am no shrinking violet! People use words like outspoken and opinionated when they talk about me.  And, yes: unlike most I don’t just think about issues, mull them over, and quietly decide them in my head.  I think about issues, mull them over, and usually publicly express them. 

But more than coming up with an idea or an opinion, I relish the opportunities to hash them out, learn from others, and put my theories to the test.  This week, I did that in my article in The Huffington Post where I (un)objectively weighed in on a recent article about sex crimes in The Economist.

I loved that both my article - as well as the original article in The Economist - has caused much banter (in comments) between very passionate and opinionated people.  I loved that opinions make people think, question, and decide their own mind.  Frankly, debate and sparring is good.  Just ask my friends Darren Kavinoky, Mark Geragos, David Diamond, or Mark Werksman about how we can agree to disagree. We can be passionate about our opinions and our ideas while still being respectful to each other as people. 

The thing that really makes no sense to me is that there are a countless number of people who have no problem blogging, commenting, and emailing with only venomous, mean spirited, and shallow things to say. I guess I should feel good that my opinions evoke hate mail because at least my words have left an impression and are making an impact.  However, I wish that as we look at the issues that evoke so much passion we all could stop and listen so as to make positive steps forward in our society. Instead, decisions are often made on impulse, emotion or fueled by anger and hatred. That is no way to make progress.   

Friday, August 7, 2009

Lily Burk Tragedy

The case of Lily Burk continues to shake my family, my kids’ school, and the city of Los Angeles.  As I wrote my article for the Huffington Post, I tried my best to focus on the issues of proactive safety, awareness, and empowerment.

But just after I put the final touches on my piece, the Los Angeles Times printed an article highlighting the criminal history and the snafus that allowed Charles Samuel, a violent criminal, out on the streets, our streets, to kill one of our own.  This was not the first time this month that a government agency messed up. I’d like to draw your attention back to six-year-old Dae'von Bailey, who was murdered by his mom’s ex-boyfriend’s, Marcas Fisher, despite a dozen phone warnings to the Department of Children Services.

This is unacceptable! Yet, where is the outrage?  Where is the disgust?  Why aren’t these unforgivable omissions being discussed national networks?  We have all heard about the exchange between
Professor Henry Louis Gates and Sergeant James Crowley.  And while that may have been a case of mutual snafus, poor manners, and according to some (not me) “racism,” the event drew international attention, climaxed by a “beer summit!”

Why, then, aren’t we demanding a summit addressing the accountability of government agencies to ensure that our children are safe?

As a loyal saxfacts reader, I invite you to share my outrage.  Blog, write, or speak up and share your stories.  Share the stories of incompetency, injustice, unfairness.  Don’t keep them in—let them out, share them, and make your voices heard!!!

The only way to create change is to speak up and protest the agency laxity that leads to the death of innocent children.  If you don’t know where to write, email me at  I have tons of suggestions for where your voice can be heard and your thoughts can be shared!