Friday, March 18, 2016

Gear Giveaway

Every May and November I do a giveaway with all of the review samples I have collected over the six or so months from the last giveaway.  Thus far they have all benefited the Wounded Warrior Project.  There has been push back before and I have always resisted using the logic that even if they are wasteful, they are the biggest and have the biggest impact. 

Well, the news has not been good when it comes to WWP.  Senators are questioning what happened.  This is not good.  So, at least for the upcoming May giveaway, I am not going to be supporting them.  If they turn things around I might go back.  If not, I will find a new charity.

I take this giveaway very seriously, often dropping in a few items of my own to spur donations.  So I do a lot of research on charities.  Given that the giveaway is less than 60 days away I am not sure I am going to be able to find one and vet it in time.

So I am a bit stuck.

One impulse I have is to go to a charity I have already vetted and know personally.  To this end I am thinking about doing a fundraiser for a local Drug Court.  The Drug Court movement started in the late 90s as an alternative disposition to drug cases in criminal courts.  I have been familiar with and taken part in three.  Additionally, I have done extensive research on the efficacy and accountability of these programs.

Drug courts have problems.  This American Life did a story on one drug court in Georgia and it was truly horrifying.  The science is sparse and bias to say the least.  There are no scientifically validated studies on drug courts that were NOT funded by a government institution related to drug court.  But that is the drug court movement as a whole.  My experience with my local Drug Court, as a lawyer, has been quite different.  I feel confident in saying that this is a well-run program worthy of charity.  A few dollars will have a huge impact.  They could be used as a scholarship for recovered addicts to go to school or to buy incentives to help people stay clean or to buy testing equipment to hold people accountable.  The money, even a tiny bit, would have real value.

But I also know that people have misgivings about drug rehabilitation programs.  I know a lot of readers are in law enforcement and sympathetic to law enforcement.  My local Drug Court has more law enforcement representatives than anyone else and they have bought in, but people in other places might have other experiences. 

The final thing I want to tell you before I put it to a vote is this--the herion epidemic you hear about in the news is not just media hype.  Its real.  I am on the ground every day and I see it.  People that used to smoke weed are dying of heroin.  People that used to experiment with heroin are hardcore addicts.  And thus far, only good Drug Court programs, in conjunction with superior treatment options, seem to work.  My local Drug Court is doing good work. 

So I put it to you in the form of a vote--should the gear giveaway be for my local Drug Court or not? 

I would love to pick a charity with broader scope so that it could effect everyone, but, as I wrote, I am not sure I have enough time.  If you vote no, drop a comment below with an alternative recommendation.  Do not, however, recommend an animal charity or an environmental charity.  Let's fix people problems first.  And don't badger me about the environment being a people problem...blah, blah, blah....


27 comments:

  1. Very highly rated military charity:
    Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund (A+)

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  2. St. Jude's Children's Hospital? That one seems fairly well regarded, though I haven't done extensive research on it

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  3. I would be fine with a local drug court or a veteran's fund.

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  4. I'm not in an area that (to my knowledge) is deeply affected by heroin addiction. My area is inundated with methamphetamine, however, and the effects are awful. I think that your local Drug Court is a fine choice for an interim charity, especially as (I assume) at least some of your readers are in law enforcement, and as such need all the help they can get managing the issue. Go for it.

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  5. St. Jude's treats kids for free and helps put the parents up in a hotel and stuff like that. So that would be good. But I personally like the drug court. I very firmly believe that the drug war has failed in every objective and is actively pushing back against our economic recovery. So for that and for other major reasons I am all about decriminalizing drugs and treating the users medically and psychologically, not criminally. Surely the money saved could be used on prevention and education and treatment. So I would love to support any kind of step towards that goal.
    In a related note:
    I've read that the heroin problem has gotten worse recently is because the opiate pills are now harder to get and use, and cost more.

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  6. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which helps with digital rights, like the apple vs fbi debacle.

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  7. I'm a cop. Drug courts do good work when done correctly. Modern ultra addictive chemical drugs are turning regular people into criminals very fast, but the transformation can often be reversed as quickly as it came about. Deferring into well aupported programs at a sentencing stage sees far less recidivism than prison terms. I am for the drug court.

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  8. If you support your local Drug Court,so do I. I have two friends who have been through Drug Court. Although the program seemed to delight in yanking these guy's chains occasionally out of pure spite and for no apparent reason they both came out of the program stronger. They have both set themselves on a path that will keep them out of trouble.

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  9. If you say your local drug court is legit, I trust you. Go for it.

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  10. The Gary Sinise foundation is similar to the Wounded Warrior Foundation but 100% wonderful. Gary fully funds all administrative costs out of his own pocket.

    My own money goes there and I highly recommend.

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  11. First time commenter here. Please do your local drug court. If not your local drug court, then maybe a program that helps helps support public Defenders.

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  12. I vote for the Drug Court, chiefly because of your informed endorsement.

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  13. Gary Sinise Foundation, if the above statement is true, sounds like a winner.

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  14. Tony, you've earned our respect for your conscientiousness. I wouldn't trust my own instincts in such matters more than I'd trust your thoughtful reflection.

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  15. I think a drug court is a good cause, knowing you have personally vetted it. I would be good with that. WWP seems like a bit of a mess, so I don't expect them to turn anything around.

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  16. The drug court sounds like a great option. Drug abuse is a serious problem.

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  17. Have you considered St. Jude Children's Research Hospital?

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  18. If you want to benefit injured veterans, Fisher House is highly recommend by people I trust who have checked it out.
    https://www.fisherhouse.org

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  19. I trust your judgment. Do your drug court

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  20. You're the man on the line right now. I'd take your recommendation far and above that of the media or similar.

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  21. Aloha Tony,
    Pretty sure some people leaving comments haven't noticed the voting option in the right column. Definitely more than 7 "yes" votes for drug court in the comments section.

    I think it's clear that your readers trust you. Ipso facto we will have confidence in whatever organization you express confidence in.

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    1. Hmmm, thanks for pointing this out. The right column doesn't even show up on mobile. I will switch to desktop mode and vote.

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  22. I think your Drug Court idea is great. You certainly don't need our approval but thanks for asking!

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  23. + 1 to your drug court. Your reviews have placed many a good tool on my purchase list and in my pockets. It should only stand to reason that if your opinions are good enough to heed when considering spending what some of us consider to be large sums of money, i.e. the 1200$ ish I just sent on MBI HF'S, then your judgment should be seen as sound when it comes to picking a charity to donate the proceeds of your own giveaway too.

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