Good Riddance to 2016 And a Wish List for 2017

As my father would have said about the year 2016, “So long, and don’t let the door hit you in the rump on the way out!” Although Dad surely would have used more colorful language.

It was a confusing, divisive and extremely frustrating year, wasn’t it? Terror attacks on American soil, civil unrest in the streets and inflammatory uncivil discourse that, literally, split the country into two factions. And now following the most bizarre and costly presidential election the country has ever seen America has become a nation full of destructive and instantaneous intolerance deepening a schism that may take generations to heal.

We Created This Ideological Split – Can We Ever Heal It ?

It’s as if we would rather take pot shots at each other instead of tackling the county’s pressing problems.

If you want to wallow in the current climate, well, I’ve got nothing for you. But if you’d rather put on your big boy/girl pants and see the country move forward here’s my crime and justice wish list for 2017.

First, with all this new-found interest in our political system let’s make some demands of our elected officials, shall we? I wish for voters to insist lawmakers stop partisan bickering and concentrate on what is best for the country not their political party.

I hope this next session of Congress begins to look at big picture problems like the mess that is our immigration system. I wish Congress would reconsider mandatory sentencing guidelines that have packed U.S. prisons with, oftentimes, low-level, non-violent offenders costing us billions.

I wish lawmakers would fund a massive Manhattan-type project to improve the nation’s cyber security so we never have to wonder which foreign power is trying to influence our election or tamper with our power grid.

And wouldn’t it be great if they also figured out how to block those ugly ISIS recruitment websites that attract lone wolf terrorists who attack in packed U.S. nightclubs or shopping malls?

I also wish for state lawmakers to cloak themselves in a new era of patriotic action, adopting legislation that actually helps citizens. I hope voters remove those who continue to play the same old political games.

I truly hope there is a genius out there somewhere who can figure out a way to determine which of the more than 310 million civilian owned guns are in the wrong hands because there is a murder epidemic underway in many locations.

Too Many Murders in Too Many Big Cities

Major crime rates have fallen nationwide but major cities like St. Louis, Baltimore, Detroit, New Orleans and Birmingham, Alabama still have extraordinarily high, per capita, murder rates.  In Chicago, despite years of strict gun restrictions, there were more than 770 murders in 2016. That’s more than Los Angles and New York combined.  Clearly, more gun control laws have not stopped the carnage.

In 2016, police fatally shot way too many unarmed, mostly black civilians and far too many police officers were deliberately injured or assassinated on the job.

I want more parents to teach their children respect for human life and for the job law enforcement does for us. But I also hope for swift punishment for officers who step outside the law. And for law enforcement academies to devise training methods that rely more on conflict resolution and less on gunfire.

Solutions to our crime and justice problems don’t necessarily need a genius to fix them. Solutions can originate with us.

We are a country founded on the cherished ideals of freedom of expression, religion and political thought. I humbly suggest we all work to repair the ideological division we have created, dropping the snark-filled remarks aimed at those who hold differing viewpoints. People who truly communicate and are tolerant of all viewpoints are rarely criminals.

Let’s vigorously reinstate civics courses in our high schools and universities so knee-jerk protesters stop screaming in the streets for instant justice, displaying their ignorance about how the judicial, legislative and executive branches work.

I wish for a new era in which corporate, banking and business leaders adopt a new creed of honorable customer service and the ability to truly listen to whistle-blowers instead of devising plans to destroy them.

I wish for defendants suspected of criminal activity to be brought before the court for judgment no matter how rich or famous they are.

And finally, I wish to abolish the current court imposed elder guardianship system that ensnares so many aging citizens, strips them of their civil rights, isolates their families and often depletes their hard-earned estates all in the name of “protecting” them. Nationwide, unscrupulous court appointees have created a cottage industry that systematically transfers wealth from the elderly and their heirs to the pockets of total strangers. I hope quarreling families come to realize they should never turn to a lawyer or the courts to decide what to do with an elderly parent.

Naturally, there are many more issues to be dealt with in the coming year. I just know in my heart if we can find a more civil way to deal with each other the problems won’t seem so insurmountable. Happy 2017.


Note: I invite everyone to read my series in the Albuquerque Journal on the elder guardianship problem. It focuses on New Mexico but it is a nationwide problem


  1. Diane Dimond on January 2, 2017 at 9:04 pm

    Reader Rob Stelzer from FBI Academy, Quantico, VA writes:

    You make no sense. First of all, the “non-violent” drug dealers you speak of and who have been pardoned or commuted by obama all took plea bargains from greater crimes, most involving the illegal posession of the guns you want to identify and confiscate.
    Let’s prosecute all gun crimes and lock these criminals away from the communities they prey on.
    Second, especially in the major cities, fatherless boys are running wild while being supported by the state. Inner city schools are falling down and since there is little work, crime is accepted as a viable career. Where are the daddies?
    You want to hold politicians accountable? Like that will ever happen. Their job is to lie and get reelected. There is no honor in politics.
    Let’s hold the media accountable. Let’s closely watch our judges and hold them accountable so the number of new crime victims can decline.
    As for police shootings? I have never known any police officer, deputy sheriff or federal agent who went to work with the intention of shooting anyone, regardless of the color of their skin.
    I have burried too many brothers and sisters who were killed serving their communities. The fact is that if those who have murdered cops were killed instead, there would be a lot safer streets.
    Happy New Year.
    Too bad you don’t think about practical ways that would actually make it so.

  2. Diane Dimond on January 2, 2017 at 9:04 pm

    ABQ Journal Reader Gene Ralno writes:

    I’d just mention one of your many wishes. In spite of Chicago’s 770 murders, America’s crime rates overall continue to fall. In other words, there is no epidemic. That was first proffered by the New York Times and it was a bald faced lie. More to the point, the fact is, most of Chicago’s murders are committed by the same 1,400 gang members well known to law enforcement. Imprison them and the murder rate plummets. New York has 300 like them who also are well known to law enforcement. Although U.S. murder rates are at historic lows, the Government Accountability Office reported that illegal aliens commit 7,800 murders in the U.S. every year. Other more scientific analyses indicate that number is nearer to 5,639, about half the non-suicide homicides. The epidemic is illegal immigration and it infects everyone in everything they do every day.

  3. Diane Dimond on January 2, 2017 at 9:05 pm

    Noozhawk Reader Tito writes:

    2016 was enlightening and educational because it pulled back the rotten floorboards to expose cockroaches and serious corruption! The Democrats are co-conspirators in Hillary’s loss.
    1. The DNC colluded against Bernie Sanders, and Bernie himself said so many times.
    2. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz was forced to resign over DNC corruption, but Hillary invites Debbie to join her campaign!
    3. The DOJ protected Hillary. Loretta Lynch meets Bill on the tarmac: Tarmac-Gate corruption!
    4. The FBI acknowledges Hillary’s misuse of classified info, but didn’t move forward.
    5. Donna Brazile secretly feeds debate questions to Hillary before the debate and then lies about it. Hillary covers and protects Donna’s corruption.
    6. Hillary spends millions of dollars in negative attack ads against Trump, and she had a bloated staff. Trump spends a mere fraction of Hillary’s wasted money! Trump accomplished MORE with less!
    7. Obama lies about Obamacare, while costs keep rising.
    8. Hillary’s campaign- “I’m with her.” Trumps campaign- “I’m with the American people!”
    9. Hillary was incompetent and indifferent when four Americans were murdered in Benghazi.
    10. Worst of all, the mainstream media dumped all over Trump in widespread corruption and malpractice journalism! They spoon feed low-information voters biased news. Turn off, boycott, and speak out against malpractice journalism!
    There’s a ghetto in Chicago that is missing its disastrous community organizer. Baawaah!

  4. Diane Dimond on January 2, 2017 at 9:06 pm

    Noozhawk Reader Monterey Jack writes:

    It may be premature to judge 2016 on the suckiness scale.

  5. Diane Dimond on January 2, 2017 at 9:07 pm

    Noozhawk Reader MaxWebXperienZ writes:

    2016 was fabulous! I’m tired of all these cockroaches determined to put their lousy brand on it. 2017 is going to be far better without Obama and all that trash.

  6. Diane Dimond on January 2, 2017 at 9:48 pm

    ABQ Journal Reader John Hooker writes:

    Dear Ms. Dimond,

    I appreciate your series about public guardianship practices in NM. I grew up knowing Blair Darnell and her son and encountered her years later in my work at the State Fair. A feisty horsewoman. **

    But I do not appreciate your glib characterization in today’s Sunday Journal that “Clearly, more gun control law do not work,” [to limit gun deaths and mayhem.] That’s a cheap shot claim that you, as a law and crime reporter should know better than to post. A 30-second search on the internet reveals this NYTimes article about how adjacent lax state gun laws support the free flow of guns into Chicago:

    The supply of guns from Indiana into Illinois is a reasonably proximate adjunct to the rate of murders by guns in Chicago despite their stricter state and local gun restrictions. Ditto New York City and New Jersey vis-à-vis Georgia’s, Virginia’s and Pennsylvania’s lax laws – interstate laws the newly-empowered gun-makers’ Republican Congress wants to weaken even further. So, really? Local selective gun restriction laws do not reduce gun deaths and injuries? I guess you’re right. And we kill more children by guns than any other country. Joy, oh joy.

    The U.S. is unique in the numbers of privately owned guns and the rate of gun-murders and suicides per capita in the world. (Perhaps outside uber-libertarian Somalia.) If you have a better NRA-gun manufacturers’ lobby argument as to why we should have less fun “2nd Amendment, slave hunting” gun regulation in America please publish and explain it.

    Aren’t we special.

    John Hooker

    ** The series referenced by Mr. Hooker can be found here:

  7. Diane Dimond on January 3, 2017 at 3:40 pm

    ABQ Journal Reader BJ Raines writes:

    I want to drop you a line to let you know that I think you hit a nail on the head in Saturday’s column in the the ABQ Journal. When you mentioned that perhaps this country could benefit from some civics classes, I broke into a smile. You see, I have been preaching that scenario for the past few years…every time someone indicates to me that they think being president of the USA is such a powerful position
    and electing the right president will solve all their woes. If the American people only realized that there are three branches of government and that laws don’t happen unless they go through Congress. So, it would seem to me that, if people realized this, then maybe they would be more inclined to vote out their lawmakers rather than have us go through what we experienced in 2016’s presidential race.

    So, before 2018, wouldn’t it be grand if we could find a way to educate everyone as to how our government is supposed to work. Maybe Lin-Manuel Miranda could write a play about how a bill becomes a law, so that people would clammer to see it and maybe learn something. Or, maybe ABC or XBox or Facebook or some brand new communications network could come up with a way to educate this country quickly and with real, correct information about who controls what. I would say to let our schools be a part of this, but who the hell even knows what a “civics” class is these days?

    You are well connected and, obviously, you also feel that this is a need. You started the ball rolling. What can we do next? If we don’t educate our people, then we are doomed to continue electing people like Donald Trump who will say whatever it takes to get elected.

    OK. Off my chest and on to your plate. And, one more thing, aren’t you concerned with how the press is being treated right now and probably will be for the next 4 years? As Thomas Jefferson said, ” Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”

  8. Diane Dimond on January 3, 2017 at 3:41 pm

    ABQ Journal Reader Jim Souter writes:

    Hello Diane;
    my name is Jim Souter and for the past two years I have served on one of the cities six CPCs in our city. I read your article in Saturday’s Albuquerque Journal and I was most impressed with your wish list for 2017. I would like to offer to you some suggestions that we could add to your wish list and hopefully work together to get them accomplished.
    On your comment on the most bizarre and costly presidential election this country has ever seen, I totally agree and wonder if we could not get added to your wish list, an agreement in the future that we would be allowed to see and hear from the other parties, other than just the Democratic and Republican party on the debate stages. It has always bothered me that while our city and our state are looking for funds to help our education and people in crisis, that millions are being spent on simple political campaigns.
    On your comment on making demands of our elected officials, I totally agree with you. I believe the time is right for our elected officials to operate just like we do in the business world. Put a business plan together for what we need and then if the official does not accomplish the task, then just like we do in the business world, you get fired and replaced immediately.
    About immigration, I believe we need to establish a quota system that will meet what we can afford to do in our states and our city’s. People continue to be added to our payroll and systems are not in place to determine what we can afford. Plus, adding individuals into a system with a poor economy does not make any sense.
    On your subject of mandatory sentencing guidelines, if the statement is true that 20% of our people are responsible for 80% of our crimes, then we need to strictly concentrate on that 20%. A strong factor that needs to be address in the formulation of this 20% is that over 90% of the individuals in the juvenile detention centers have already been abused. If this issue is not addressed, then we will always have that 20% factor.
    In my opinion our social media websites are the primary reason for what we determine as terrorist’s activity. When I grew up we did not have social media. The statement I grew up with was” sticks and stones will break your bones but words will never hurt you”. Every day we see and read of statements being said that are critiqued. Many of these statements are used to persecute an individual and has abolished the statement that you are innocent until proven guilty.
    On your statement about the millions of civilian owned guns, and I am one of those civilians, I ask you this; where in our city is a place that you need to have a gun to go to that place? I have been told that your vehicle is an extension of your home and that is the justification for you to have a gun in your vehicle. I cannot think of any place in our city or state that I would need to have a gun to go there. I am, as I stated, one of those civilians who own guns. I do not have any problem with registering my guns. I am an avid hunter and do not possess a clip fed automatic firing weapon. They are mostly illegal to have in the field and are only designed one purpose. That purpose is combat.
    In your statement about the addition of civics courses in our high schools, not only does the subject of the judicial process need to be taught, but also what people should do when they encounter a policing situation or an encounter with a police officer. We train our police officers on how to handle different situations, yet our public does not know what to do or what not to do. The predominant factor I continually observe is the public not responding to the actions or directions a police officer is giving them to address the situation. At the time of a police encounter is not the time to question a police officer on the reasoning for their request.
    All officers who either step outside the law or create an adverse situation, should be addressed through a independent, civilian orientated committee. The findings of this committee should be addressed immediately by either the judicial system or the command staff of the police department. Our district attorneys should not be involved in this process unless prosecution is advised.
    Lastly, almost 2 years ago, all the department of public safety departments in both our city and County agreed to work together to address our mental health issues. Additionally, our city and County agreed to work together to determine how best to spend funds appropriated for this endeavor. It would be my wish that they complete this project this year. Additionally, I would hope that they realize that they have the funds and a facility coming available that could serve not only the many organizations who work in this facet on a day-to-day basis, but also provide our department of public safety officials with a triage point capable of handling our entire region.
    It would be my hope that our city and our department of public safety officials could see and realize how beneficial this facility could be for our police departments. I would hope that they would consider adding the treatment and handling of alcohol to this endeavor.
    Diane, the interesting part of this wish list, is that two years ago, I could not hold a conversation with you about any of the subjects. It has been my being involved with the CPCs that has created these opinions. I sincerely hope that your wishes may come true and thank you for your interest and concerns for crime and justice in our area.

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