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Should China abolish the death penalty? Why or why not?

Yes the fuck they SHOULD!! Why? Because there’s a huge problem with the death penalty in China! They don’t publish the numbers or reasons or ANYTHING!! Which means that ANYBODY could be sentenced to death for any reason they deem appropriate!! That’s just crazy to me! They can kill political adversaries or political activists and people who protest or disagree with the government on any level, and they ain’t got to tell nobody shit!! Anybody says they are for that shit on any level better get the fuck off that “christian train.” And re-think your position!! To give a government that kind of power. The power to “disappear” people? You gotta be some kind of informant or government controlled rat to think that such a thing would be alright for these militaristic, theocratic thugs. To think that they are using that power equitably or responsibly is fantasy. The problem with the death penalty is that it has a serious flaw which I’ll just call HUMAN ERROR!! Humans are flawed and fallible and in our society our flawed fallible and subjective memories are often used to have people placed on death row. If indeed there were DNA evidence in every case and in every case we could be CERTAIN that a person were 100% guilty, I might not have much of an objection to people like the student eater guy being killed by the state. Having said that, such is NOT the case in over 60% of cases. In 60% of cases there IS NO DNA!! That’s the problem with our system. Aside and apart from the fact that black and brown men who have had mostly less than adequate representation comprise a disproportionate number of cases. And let’s not even talk about corruption. Check this link out. A republican governor who did away with the death penalty and commuted everyone’s sentence to life because of the unbelievable depths of the corruption of their homicide detectives.George RyanFrom Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaJump to navigationJump to searchFor other people named George Ryan, see George Ryan (disambiguation).This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.Find sources: "George Ryan" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR(February 2021)(Learn how and when to remove this template message)George Ryan39th Governor of IllinoisIn officeJanuary 11, 1999 – January 13, 2003LieutenantCorinne WoodPreceded byJim EdgarSucceeded byRod Blagojevich36th Secretary of State of IllinoisIn officeJanuary 14, 1991 – January 11, 1999GovernorJim EdgarPreceded byJim EdgarSucceeded byJesse White42nd Lieutenant Governor of IllinoisIn officeJanuary 10, 1983 – January 14, 1991GovernorJames R. ThompsonPreceded byDave O'NealSucceeded byBob Kustra65th Speaker of the Illinois House of RepresentativesIn officeJanuary 14, 1981 – January 10, 1983GovernorJames R. ThompsonPreceded byWilliam A. RedmondSucceeded byArthur A. TelcserPersonal detailsBornGeorge Homer RyanFebruary 24, 1934 (age 86)Maquoketa, Iowa, U.S.Political partyRepublicanSpouse(s)Lura Lynn Lowe​​(m.1956; died 2011)​Children6EducationFerris State CollegeProfessionPharmarcistbusinessmanMilitary serviceAllegianceUnited StatesBranch/serviceUnited States ArmyYears of service1954–1956[1][2][3][4]George Homer Ryan (born February 24, 1934) is an American former politician who was the Republican 39th Governor of Illinois from 1999 until 2003. Ryan received national attention for his 1999 moratorium on executions in Illinois and for commuting more than 160 death sentences to life sentences in 2003. He was later convicted of federal corruption charges and spent more than five years in federal prison and seven months of home confinement. He was released from federal prison on July 3, 2013.Contents1Early life2Political career3Term as governor3.1Capital punishment4Scandals, trial, and conviction4.1Indictment4.2Defense and appeal4.3Sentencing5Electoral history6References7External linksEarly life[edit]George Homer Ryan was born in Maquoketa, Iowa to Jeannette (née Bowman) and Thomas Ryan, a pharmacist.[5][6] Ryan grew up in Kankakee County, Illinois. After serving in the U.S. Army in Korea, he worked for his father's two drugstores.[7] He attended Ferris State College of Pharmacy (now Ferris State University) in Big Rapids, Michigan. Eventually, he built his father's pair of pharmacies into a successful family-run chain (profiting from lucrative government-contract business selling prescription drugs to nursing homes) which he sold in 1990.[7][8] Ryan was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1954. He served a 13-month tour in Korea, working in a base pharmacy.[9]On June 10, 1956, Ryan married his high school sweetheart, Lura Lynn Lowe (July 5, 1934 – June 27, 2011), whom he had met in a high school English class. She grew up in Aroma Park, where her family (originally from Germany) had lived since 1834. Her father owned one of the first hybrid seed companies in the United States.[10] The couple had five daughters (including a set of triplets);[8] Julie, Joanne, Jeanette, Lynda and Nancy;[11][12] and one son, George Homer Ryan, Jr.[13][14][15][16]Lura Lowe died of lung cancer at Riverside Hospital in Kankakee on June 27, 2011. Ryan's brother, Tom, was a prominent political figure in Kankakee County.[7] In addition, Ryan's sister Kathleen Dean's former son-in-law, Bruce Clark, is the Kankakee County, Illinois Clerk.[17]Political career[edit]Ryan began his political career by serving on the Kankakee County Board from 1968 to 1973 (his brother Tom J. Ryan was Mayor of Kankakee for 20 years from 1965 to 1985). He was then elected to the Illinois House of Representatives, where he served from 1973 to 1983, including two terms as Minority Leader and one term as Speaker. He then spent 20 years in statewide office, as Lieutenant Governor under Governor James R. Thompson (1983–91), Secretary of State from 1991 to 1999, and as governor from 1999 to 2003. During his first term as Secretary of State, then–State Treasurer Pat Quinn was publicly critical of Ryan. Specifically, he drew attention to special vanity license plates that Ryan's office provided for clout-heavy motorists. This rivalry led Quinn in a failed bid to challenge Ryan in the 1994 general election for Secretary of State.[18][19]Term as governor[edit]This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.Find sources: "George Ryan" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR(February 2021)(Learn how and when to remove this template message)Ryan was elected Governor in 1998, defeating his opponent, Glenn Poshard, by a 51–47% margin. Ryan's running mate was first-term state representative Corinne Wood. Ryan outspent Poshard by a 4-to-1 margin. Poshard, a firm believer in campaign finance reform, placed limits on individual donations and refused to accept donations from corporate or special interests.One of Ryan's pet projects as governor was an extensive repair of the Illinois Highway System called "Illinois FIRST". FIRST was an acronym for "Fund for Infrastructure, Roads, Schools, and Transit". Signed into law in May 1999, the law created a $6.3 billion package for use in school and transportation projects. With various matching funds programs, Illinois FIRST provided $2.2 billion for schools, $4.1 billion for public transportation, another $4.1 billion for roads, and $1.6 billion for other projects. He also improved Illinois's technology infrastructure, creating one of the first cabinet-level Offices of Technology in the country and bringing up Illinois's technology ranking in a national magazine from 48th out of the 50 states when he took office to 1st just two years later. Ryan committed record funding to education, including 51% of all new state revenues during his time in office, in addition to the billions spent through Illinois FIRST that built and improved schools and education infrastructure. In 1999, Ryan sparked controversy by becoming the first sitting U.S. Governor to meet with Cuban President Fidel Castro. Ryan's visit led to a $1 million donation of humanitarian aid, but drew criticism from anti-Castro groups.[20] In 2000, Ryan served as a chair of the Midwestern Governors Association.Capital punishment[edit]Ryan helped to renew the national debate on capital punishment when, as governor, he declared a moratorium on his state's death penalty in 2000.[21]This decision was heavily influenced by lawsuits filed by exonerated prisoners who made false confessions as a result of police torture under the direction of a police commander named Jon Burge.[22] "We have now freed more people than we have put to death under our system," he said. "There is a flaw in the system, without question, and it needs to be studied."[23] At the time, Illinois had executed 12 people since the reinstatement of the death penalty in 1977, with one execution, that of Ripper Crew member Andrew Kokoraleis, occurring early during Ryan's term. Ryan refused to meet with religious leaders and others regarding "a stay of execution" in light of the impending 'moratorium' and other facts relative to the 'flawed' capital punishment system in Illinois; in fact, under Ryan's governorship, 13 people were released from jail after appealing their convictions based on new evidence. Ryan called for a commission to study the issue, while noting, "I still believe the death penalty is a proper response to heinous crimes ... But I believe that it has to be where we don't put innocent people to death."[24]The issue had garnered the attention of the public when a death row inmate, Anthony Porter, who had spent 15 years on death row, was within two days of being executed when his lawyers won a stay on the grounds that he may have been mentally disabled. He was ultimately exonerated with the help of a group of student journalists at Northwestern University who had uncovered evidence that was used to prove his innocence. In 1999, Porter was released, charges were subsequently dropped, and another person, Alstory Simon, confessed and pleaded guilty to the crime of which Porter had been erroneously convicted. Simon himself was later released after serving fifteen years for the crime, after it was proven that he, too, was wrongfully accused.[25]On January 11, 2003, just two days before leaving office, Ryan commuted (to "life" terms) the sentences of everyone on or waiting to be sent to Illinois' death row — a total of 167 convicts — due to his belief that the death penalty could not be administered fairly. He also pardoned four inmates, Aaron Patterson, Madison Hobley and Leroy Orange (all of whom were interrogated by Burge and released), and Stanley Howard. However, Patterson is currently serving 30 years in prison after being arrested for drug trafficking he committed after his release from death row. Howard remains in prison for armed robbery.[26] Ryan declared in his pardon speech that he would have freed Howard if only his attorney had filed a clemency petition; Ryan then strongly urged investigators to examine Howard's alleged robbery case, because it appeared to be as tainted as his murder conviction.[27]These were four of ten death row inmates known as the "Death Row 10," due to widely reported claims that the confessions that they had given in their respective cases had been coerced through torture. Ryan is not the first state governor to have granted blanket commutations to death row inmates during his final days in office. Arkansas Governor Winthrop Rockefeller also commuted the sentence of every death row inmate in that state as he left office after losing his 1970 bid for a third two-year term, as did New Mexico Governor Toney Anaya before he left office in 1986 and Ohio Governor Dick Celeste before he left office in 1990.[citation needed]Ryan won praise from death penalty opponents: as early as 2001, he received the Mario Cuomo Act of Courage Award from Death Penalty Focus, in 2003 the Rose Elizabeth Bird Commitment to Justice Award from the same organization, and in 2005 he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. On the other side of the Atlantic, Robert Badinter, who had successfully introduced the bill abolishing the death penalty in France in 1981 praised Ryan's decision.[28] Many conservatives, though, were opposed to the commutations, some questioning his motives, which came as a federal corruption investigation closed in on the governor and his closest political allies (see below). Conservative columnist Pat Buchanan called Ryan "pathetic", and suggested the governor was attempting to save his public image in hopes of avoiding prison himself. Buchanan noted "Ryan announced his decision to a wildly cheering crowd at the Northwestern University Law School. Families of the victims of the soon-to-be-reprieved killers were not invited."[29]Scandals, trial, and conviction[edit]Ryan's political career was marred by a scandal called "Operation Safe Road", which involved the illegal sale of government licenses, contracts and leases by state employees during his prior service as Secretary of State. In the wake of numerous convictions of his former aides, he chose not to run for reelection in 2002. Seventy-nine former state officials, lobbyists, and others were charged in the investigation, and at least 76 were convicted.[citation needed]The corruption scandal leading to Ryan's downfall began more than a decade earlier during a federal investigation into a deadly crash in Wisconsin. Six children from the Willis family of Chicago, Illinois, were killed; their parents, Rev. Duane and Janet Willis, were severely burned.[30] The investigation revealed a scheme inside Ryan's Secretary of State's office in which unqualified truck drivers obtained licenses through bribes.In March 2003, Scott Fawell, Ryan's former chief of staff and campaign manager, was convicted on federal charges of racketeering and fraud. He was sentenced to six years and six months.[31] Former deputy campaign manager Richard Juliano pleaded guilty to related charges and testified against Fawell at trial. Roger Stanley, a former Republican state representative who was hired by Ryan and testified against Fawell, pleaded guilty to wide-ranging corruption, admitting he paid kickbacks to win state contracts and campaign business, secretly mailed out vicious false attacks on political opponents and helped obtain ghost-payrolling jobs.[32]Indictment[edit]The investigation finally reached the former governor, and in December 2003, Ryan and lobbyist Lawrence Warner were named in a 22-count federal indictment. The charges included racketeering, bribery, extortion, money laundering and tax fraud. The indictment alleged that Ryan steered several state contracts to Warner and other friends; disbursed campaign funds to relatives and to pay personal expenses; and obstructed justice by attempting to end the state investigation of the license-for-bribes scandal. He was charged with lying to investigators and accepting cash, gifts and loans in return for his official actions as governor. On September 19, 2005, the case went to trial.[33]Fawell, under pressure from prosecutors, became a key witness against Ryan and Warner. He agreed to a plea deal that cut the prison time for himself and his fiancée, Andrea Coutretsis. Fawell was a controversial witness, not hiding his disdain for prosecutors from the witness stand. According to CBS Chicago political editor Mike Flannery, insiders claimed that Fawell had been "much like a son" to Ryan throughout their careers. At Ryan's trial, Fawell acknowledged that the prosecution had his "head in a vise", and that he found his cooperation with the government against Ryan "the most distasteful thing I've ever done".[31] Nonetheless, he spent several days on the witness stand testifying against Ryan and Warner. Once a tough-talking political strategist, Fawell wept on the witness stand as he acknowledged that his motivation for testifying was to spare Coutretsis a long prison sentence for her role in the conspiracy. The jury was twice sent out of the courtroom so that he could wipe tears from his eyes and regain his composure.Ryan's daughters and a son-in-law, Michael Fairman, were implicated by testimony during the trial. Stipulations agreed upon by the defense and prosecution and submitted to the court included admissions that all five of Ryan's daughters received illegal payments from the Ryan campaign. In addition to Lynda Fairman, who received funds beyond those her husband Michael testified he had received, the stipulations included admissions from the rest of Ryan's daughters that they did little or no work in return for the payments.[34][35] In addition, Fawell testified that Ryan's mother's housekeeper was illegally paid from campaign funds, and that Ryan's adopted sister, Nancy Ferguson, received campaign funds without performing campaign work.[11][34] The prosecution took nearly four months to present their case, as a parade of other witnesses (including Juliano) followed Fawell.On April 17, 2006, the jury found Ryan and Warner guilty on all counts.[36] However, when ruling on post-trial motions, the judge dismissed two counts against Ryan for lack of proof.[37] Ryan said that he would appeal the verdict, largely due to the issues with the jury.Patrick Fitzgerald, the federal prosecutor, noted, "Mr. Ryan steered contracts worth millions of dollars to friends and took payments and vacations in return. When he was a sitting governor, he lied to the FBI about this conduct and then he went out and did it again." He charged that one of the most egregious aspects of the corruption was Ryan's action after learning that bribes were being paid for licenses. Instead of ending the practice he tried to end the investigation that had uncovered it, Fitzgerald said, calling the moment "a low-water mark for public service".[38]On September 6, 2006, Ryan was sentenced to six and a half years in prison.[39] He was ordered to go to prison on January 4, 2007, but the appellate court granted an appeal bond, allowing him to remain free pending the outcome of the appeal.[40] His conviction was affirmed by the Court of Appeals of the Seventh Circuit on August 21, 2007,[41] and review by the entire Seventh Circuit was denied on October 25, 2007.[42] The Seventh Circuit then rejected Ryan's bid to remain free while he asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear his case; the opinion called the evidence of Ryan's guilt "overwhelming".[43] The Supreme Court rejected an extension of his bail, and Ryan reported to the Federal Prison Camp in Oxford, Wisconsin, on November 7, 2007.[44][45] He was transferred on February 29, 2008, to a medium security facility in Terre Haute, Indiana, after Oxford changed its level of medical care and stopped housing inmates over 70 years old.[46] He was listed as Federal Inmate Number 16627-424 and was released on July 3, 2013.[47]Defense and appeal[edit]Ryan's defense was provided pro bono by Winston & Strawn, a law firm managed by former governor Jim Thompson. The defense cost the firm $10 million through mid-November 2005.[48] Estimates of the cost to the firm as of September 2006 ranged as high as $20 million. Ryan served as Thompson's lieutenant governor from 1983 to 1991. After the United States Supreme Court declined to hear Ryan's appeal, Thompson indicated that he would ask then President George W. Bush to commute Ryan's sentence to time served.[49] United States Senator Dick Durbin wrote a letter to Bush dated December 1, 2008, asking him to commute Ryan's sentence, citing Ryan's age and his wife's frail health, saying, "This action would not pardon him of his crimes or remove the record of his conviction, but it would allow him to return to his wife and family for their remaining years."[50] Bush did not commute Ryan's sentence.After his conviction Ryan's annual $197,037 state pension was suspended under state law. Ryan's attorneys litigated the pension matter all the way to the Illinois Supreme Court, which ruled on February 19, 2010, that state law "plainly mandates that none of the benefits provided for under the system shall be paid to Ryan".[51] Ryan was paid $635,000 in pension benefits during the three years between his retirement and his political corruption conviction, plus a refund of the $235,500 in personal contributions he made during his 30 years in public office.[52][53]Sentencing[edit]In 2010, Ryan requested early release, partly because his wife had terminal cancer and was given only six months to live, and partly on the grounds that some of his convictions should be vacated in light of a Supreme Court ruling that was alleged to have affected their legitimacy. On December 21, 2010, U.S. District Court Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer denied Ryan's request.[citation needed]On January 5, 2011, Ryan was taken from his prison cell in Terre Haute, Indiana, to a hospital in Kankakee to visit his dying wife. He was present when she died five months after that visit.[4][54] Ryan entered a Salvation Army halfway house in Chicago on January 30, 2013. Less than three hours later, he was released back to his home in Kankakee where he remained on home confinement until July 3, 2013.[55]Electoral history[edit]1998 – Illinois Governor[56]George Ryan (R) 51%Glenn Poshard (D) 47.5%Lawrence Redmond (Reform) 1.5%1994 – Illinois Secretary of State[57]George Ryan (R) 61.5%Patrick Quinn (D) 38.5%1990 – Illinois Secretary of State[58]George Ryan (R) 53.5%Jerome Cosentino (D) 46.5%References[edit]^ "George Ryan". Biography in Context (fee, Fairfax County Public Library). Detroit, MI: Gale. 1999. Gale Document Number: GALE|K1650000189. Retrieved June 27, 2011. Gale Biography in Context.^ "George Homer Ryan". The Complete Marquis Who's Who (fee, Fairfax County Public Library). Marquis Who's Who. 2010. Gale Document Number: GALE|K2013022832. Retrieved June 27, 2011. Gale Biography in Context^ Roberts, Roxanne; Argetsinger, Amy (June 29, 2011). "The Reliable Source: From the mansion to the Big House". Washington Post. p. C2. Retrieved June 29, 2011. Ryan was recently released temporarily to be with his terminally ill wife, who died of lung cancer Monday^ Jump up to:a b Schlikerman, Becky; Annie Sweeney; Rick Pearson; Ray Long (June 28, 2011). "George Ryan, released from prison, at wife's side when she died". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved June 29, 2011.^ Library, CNN. "George Ryan Fast Facts".^ Merriner, James L. (September 8, 2008). The Man Who Emptied Death Row: Governor George Ryan and the Politics of Crime. SIU Press. ISBN 9780809328659 – via Google Books.^ Jump up to:a b c Arden, Patrick (January 16, 2003). "The redemption of Gov. Ryan". Salon magazine online. Archived from the original on June 6, 2011. Retrieved June 27, 2011.^ Jump up to:a b "The Nobel Peace Prize For Governor George H. Ryan of Illinois". Stop Capital Punishment Now!. Archived from the original on July 28, 2011. Retrieved June 27, 2011.^ Goudie, Chuck (November 12, 2007). "On Veterans Day, George Ryan again is taking orders". Daily Herald. Arlington Heights, IL: Paddock Publications, Inc. Archived from the original on March 25, 2012. Retrieved June 29, 2011.^ "Lura Lynn Lowe Ryan". | Where Life Stories Live On.^ Jump up to:a b "Fawell: Ryan's family, friends got cash". Chicago Sun-Times. October 7, 2005. Retrieved September 6, 2006.^ "Family Members on Payroll". Chicago Tribune. January 19, 2006. Archived from the original on November 15, 2007. Retrieved September 6, 2006.^ Warren, Ellen (September 29, 2005). "Cast of characters stars in drama made in Illinois". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved September 6, 2006.^ "Ryan Guilty". Chicago Sun-Times. April 17, 2006. Retrieved September 6, 2006.^ "Michael Sneed's lunch with George Ryan". Chicago Sun-Times. April 18, 2006. Retrieved September 6, 2006.^ Korecki, Natasha; McKinney, Dave; Janssen, Kim (June 29, 2011). "Lura Lynn dies with husband, ex-Gov. George Ryan, at her side". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved June 29,2011.^ "Lobbyist's Ex-Girlfriend Tells of Ryan Junkets". Chicago Sun-Times. January 10, 2006. Retrieved September 6, 2006.^ Hawthorne, Michael (December 10, 2008). "Pat Quinn waiting in the wings". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved January 30, 2009.^ "Biographical information on Quinn". WTOP. Associated Press. January 29, 2009. Retrieved January 30, 2009.[permanent dead link]^ "US governor on Cuba mission". BBC News. October 24, 1999.^ Johnson, Dirk (May 21, 2000). "No Executions in Illinois Until System Is Repaired". The New York Times. Retrieved December 22, 2009.^ Sobol, Rosemary; Gorner, Jeremy; Heinzmann, David (19 September 2018). "Disgraced ex-Chicago police Cmdr. Jon Burge, accused of presiding over decades of brutality and torture, has died". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 11 January 2019.^ "A Chilling Look at the Death Penalty". Washington Post. July 26, 2004.^ "Campaign 2000: Insurgents Bradley, McCain Target Independents as N.H. Primary Approaches; Bush Expressing High Hopes; Gore Emphasizing High Road". Inside Politics. CNN. January 31, 2000.^ "Alstory Simon, freed from prison after wrongful conviction, spends his time in Greater Cleveland working to free others". Cleveland OH Local News, Breaking News, Sports & Weather. Retrieved January 11, 2019.^ Warden, Rob. "Stanley Howard – The Supreme Court found the evidence "overwhelming", but Governor Ryan found otherwise". Chicago, IL: Northwestern School of Law Bluhm Legal Clinic, Center on Wrongful Convictions. Retrieved June 27, 2011.^ "Free Stanley Howard". Archived from the original on July 11, 2011. Retrieved June 27, 2011.^ "La conscience du gouverneur Ryan", Le Nouvel Observateur, January 16, 2003, p. 39.^ Buchanan, Pat (January 25, 2003). "Moral Corruption in Illinois". The American Cause. Retrieved June 27, 2011.^ Former Illinois Gov. George Ryan Heading to Prison NPR, November 6, 2007.^ Jump up to:a b 'Most distasteful thing I've ever done' nears for Fawell, Chicago Tribune, September 28, 2005.^ http://www.chicagotribune Archived July 19, 2013, at the Wayback Machine, May 9, 2003, Stanley guilty in kickback, payroll scam Former legislator admits mail fraud, money laundering by Matt O'Connor and Ray Gibson, [1]^ Reports, From Times Wire (September 19, 2005). "Corruption Trial of Ex-Governor to Begin". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved May 9, 2016.^ Jump up to:a b Election Funds Went to Relatives Chicago Tribune, October 7, 2005, accessed September 6, 2006.^ Korecki, Natasha (January 19, 2006). "Ryan daughter tells of no-work job". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on December 17, 2008. Retrieved September 6,2006.^ Guilty on all charges.[dead link] Chicago Sun-Times, April 18, 2006.^ "Ryan judge explains why she dismissed 2 charges". Chicago Tribune. September 8, 2006. Archived from the original on November 15, 2007.^ Ex-Governor of Illinois Is Convicted on All Charges New York Times, April 17, 2006, accessed September 6, 2006.^ Ryan gets 6½ years in prison Chicago Sun-Times, September 6, 2006, accessed same date.^ Federal appeals court says Ryan can stay free on bail Archived November 30, 2006, at the Wayback Machine Chicago Sun-Times, November 29, 2006, accessed same date.^ "Ex-Gov. Ryan's guilty verdict stands despite jury controversy". Chicago Tribune. August 21, 2007. Archived from the original on January 19, 2013. Retrieved August 21,2007.^ Higgins, Michael; Coen, Jeff (October 25, 2007). "Ryan loses appeal". Chicago Tribune.^ Higgins, Michael (November 1, 2007). "Ryan down to last appeal". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on November 12, 2007.^ "U.S. Supreme Court turns down Ryan request to remain free". Chicago Tribune. November 6, 2007.^ Conlon, Michael (November 7, 2007). "Former Illinois Governor Ryan enters prison". Reuters.^ Jason Meisner, Ex-Gov. Ryan switches prisons, Chicago Tribune, February 29, 2008.^ "Inmate locator: George Ryan". Federal Bureau of Prisons. Retrieved June 27, 2011.^ A Christmas card defense Archived November 15, 2007, at the Wayback MachineChicago Tribune, February 3, 2006, accessed June 24, 2018.^ Ex-Gov. to Bush: Let Ryan go Archived May 31, 2008, at the Wayback MachineChicago Sun-Times, May 28, 2008.^ Durbin, Richard J. (December 1, 2008). "Durbin Releases Letter on Commutation for Governor Ryan". Retrieved December 23, 2008.^ Anonymous. "Ryan-must forfeit State Pension". USA TODAY: Latest World and US News - Archived from the original on September 8, 2012. Retrieved February 12, 2012.^ "State Supreme Court denies pension for George Ryan – Chicago Breaking News". February 19, 2010. Archived from the original on January 18, 2012. Retrieved February 12, 2012.^ "Illinois Supreme Court Opinion". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on June 29, 2011. Retrieved February 12, 2012.^ Schlikerman, Becky; Sweeney, Annie; Pearson, Rick; Long, Ray (June 28, 2011). "George Ryan, released from prison, at wife's side when she died". Chicago Tribune.^ Leventis, Angie; Sweeney, Annie (January 30, 2013). "George Ryan home after spending just hours at halfway house". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved January 30, 2013.^ "Ballots Cast". November 3, 1998. Archived from the originalon March 4, 2016. Retrieved April 4, 2015.^ "1994 Secretary of State General Election Results – Illinois". Retrieved April 4, 2015.^ "1990 Secretary of State General Election Results – Illinois". Retrieved April 4, 2015.NBC NewsExternal links[edit] "'Blanket commutation' empties Illinois death row", January 11, 2003.Biography from site supporting his nomination for a Nobel Peace PrizeChicago Sun-Times archive on The George Ryan TriangleAnd if that’s not enough for you I have statistics from the Innocence Project for you that have (through new ways of testing evidence…DNA evidence and otherwise) worked to have over 200 people freed from death row.DNA Exonerations in the United StatesFast facts:1989: The first DNA exoneration took place375 DNA exonerees to date37: States where exonerations have been won14: Average number of years served5,284: Total number of years served26.6: Average age at the time of wrongful conviction43: Average age at exoneration21 of 375 people served time on death row44 of 375 pled guilty to crimes they did not commit69%: Involved eyewitness misidentification and of these:34% of these misidentification cases involved an in-person lineup52% involved a misidentification from a photo array7% involved a misidentification from a mugshot book16% involved a misidentification from a show-up procedure5% involved a misidentification from a one-on-one photo procedure27% involved a misidentification through the use of a composite sketch11% involved a voice misidentification2% involved a misidentification through hypnosis54% involved an in-court misidentification29% involved a misidentification through some other procedure (e.g., mistakenly “recognizing” someone on the street and reporting them to law enforcement)77% of the misidentification cases involved multiple procedures84% of the misidentification cases involved a misidentification by a surviving victim42% involved a cross-racial misidentification32% involved multiple misidentifications of the same person by different witnesses18% involved a failure to identify the exoneree in at least one procedure43%: Involved misapplication of forensic science29%: Involved false confessions49% of the false confessors were 21 years old or younger at the time of arrest31% of the false confessors were 18 years old or younger at the time of arrest9% of the false confessors had mental health or mental capacity issues, known at trial17%: Involved informants268: DNA exonerees compensated190: DNA exonerations worked on by the Innocence Project165: Actual assailants identified. Those actual perpetrators went on to be convicted of 154 additional violent crimes, including 83 sexual assaults, 36 murders, and 35 other violent crimes while the innocent sat behind bars for their earlier offenses.Demographics of the 375:225 (60%) African American117 (31%) Caucasian29 (8%) Latinx2 (1%) Asian American1 (<1%) Native American1 (<1%) Self-identified “Other”Other facts:130 DNA exonerees were wrongfully convicted for murders; 40 (31%) of these cases involved eyewitness misidentifications and 81 (62%) involved false confessions [as of July 9, 2018]102 DNA exonerations involved false confessions; the real perp was identified in 76 (75%) of these cases. These 38 real perps went on to commit 48 additional crimes for which they were convicted, including 25 murders, 14 rapes, and 9 other violent crimes [as of July 24, 2018]180 of the DNA exonerees (50%) had the real perpetrator(s) identified in their cases [as of August 22, 2018]137 of the DNA exonerees had the real perpetrator(s) identified through a cold database hit [as of October 19, 2018]At least 43 (52%) of the 83 DNA exonerees who falsely confessed included non-public facts in their confessions [as of July 29, 2020]23 (22%) of the 104 people whose cases involved false confessions had exculpatory DNA evidence available at the time of trial but were still wrongfully convicted [as of July 29, 2020]83 (61%) of the 137 DNA exonerees who were wrongfully convicted for murder had false confessions involved in their cases (33 confessed themselves, 20 had co-defendants who confessed, and another 30 confessed themselves and had co-defendants who confessed) [as of July 29, 2020]How DNA makes a difference in the criminal justice systemSince 1989, there have been tens of thousands of cases where prime suspects were identified and pursued—until DNA testing (prior to conviction) proved that they were wrongly accused.In more than 25% of cases in a National Institute of Justice study, suspects were excluded once DNA testing was conducted during the criminal investigation (the study, conducted in 1995, included 10,060 cases where testing was performed by FBI labs).An Innocence Project review of our closed cases from 2004 – June 2015 revealed that 29% of cases were closed because of lost or destroyed evidence.ContactAboutDonateWays to GiveCareersFinancialsPrivacy PolicyLegalThe Innocence Project is affiliated with Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University.You really think that they’re doing things any differently in New York than they were in Chicago? Only if you’re so privileged you cannot see the forest for the trees.Lastly, I would add that the death penalty is akin to “gang-banging” on a societal level. This is not what we should teach our children. Correct me if I’m wrong but teaching our children that it’s okay to kill killers…to show that killing is wrong…is like the most asinine, backwards shit you could ever do. Come on man. Bottom line is we can’t be for killing based on the flawed, subjective views of 12 people who you can be sure will not be my “peers,” and who are prone to making these horrible mistakes REGULARLY!! If you’re FOR such a flawed system it not only shows how privileged you are, it shows what raw killers we can all become. Crazy!

How do airplanes know where to land with accuracy?

Airplanes don’t know, and don’t have to.Pilots have to know, and the science and art of navigation has been developed entirely for that purpose.Navigation in aviation means knowing where you are at this moment, and how to go from here to there.▲The navigational challenge: how do you get to the airport?Navigation first started with pilotage: the pilot looks at the ground features below and identifies them on a map to tell him/her where she is.▲Look down and……▲…follow the railroad tracks!▲Advertisement of Strandard Oil Company for their aerial markers.▲Early rooftop markings for pilots, in 10-foot letters.▲Pre-World War II rooftop marking▲Early rooftop neon signsMarking Aerial HighwaysBy the end of the Second World War, the US was well along the way to laying out markers on the ground for aerial navigation:THE United States system of air markers —which consists of orientation symbols painted on roofs and sides of buildings and on highways and water towers—may become a world-wide boon to private pilots as a result of recommendations recently adopted by the International Civil Aviation Conference at Chicago.The conference, adopting a committee report setting forth the standard American marker as a model for other countries, said such air guides should be placed wherever necessary to determine aircraft position, and specified that “every city and town may be marked.”The air marker, which is now recognized as standard for this country and is expected to serve as the pattern for an international system, is more complete than markers erected before the war.The major difference is that symbols for latitude and longitude have been added.Today’s air marker includes the name of the town in which it is located—or the nearest town, if the marker is outside city limits—latitude and longitude in degrees and minutes, an arrow pointing true north, and another arrow pointing toward the nearest airport having paved runways.Special symbols may be added to direct pilots to air parks.Letters and symbols, with a few exceptions, are chrome yellow on a black background.Ten feet is the minimum height for letters on roofs of buildings and ground markers must be at least 20 feet high.The United States already has far more air guides for private flyers than other countries but is only “off to a good start” toward providing an adequate system of markers throughout the country.The CAA-sponsored program to install air markers began in 1935, and 30,000 markers were completed by December, 1941.The program to erect air markers was halted soon after Pearl Harbor when the Army ordered all markers removed along the east, west, and gulf coasts.Nearly 2,500 markers—representing six years’ work—were blacked out in six weeks with labor crews provided by the Army.But the wartime setback was not without benefit to the marker program.The fact that the War Department thought the markers would help invaders landing on the coasts did more than anything else to sell the nation on their value.With the air marking program discontinued at the outset of the war, the Army found—as early as the spring of 1942—that many pilots flying near training bases were getting lost and cracking up.Consequently, a call went out to CAA for air markers in 50-mile areas around the training fields.Air markers went up in 50-mile areas around Alabama’s Maxwell Field, Thunderbird and Falcon Fields in Arizona, Langley Field in Virginia, and scores of other training fields in Texas, North Carolina, Florida, and other states.The program calls for markers in every town and village.Cities require several markers, at least one on each side of the city.A projected goal of 100,000 markers throughout the country is “far too conservative” to meet the needs of private pilots.Air markers mean to private flyers what the nation’s highway signs mean to automobile drivers—there can’t be too many.In order to speed the installation of aerial highway signposts, she gives technical assistance to interested local groups on request.Complete directions for erecting markers are contained in the CAA Air Marking Bulletin No. 12, available on request.WPA funds were formerly allocated for the national air marking program, but no federal funds are now available.Financing is now a function of state aeronautical associations and local groups—Rotary clubs, pilot clubs, and business groups.CAA is now marking the roofs of its hundreds of range and communications station buildings in accordance with the new system as a maintenance job, and state and local groups are undertaking their own programs with the CAA extending technical assistance when needed.Amelia Earhart was the original sponsor of the federal air-marking program.She and Phoebe Omlie, another aviation pioneer now with CAA, devised the pro-gram and Miss Earhart sold it to the Government on the theory that private flying must be made safe before it could become popular with the average citizen.Thus, in 1935, a nation-wide air marking program was launched under sponsorship of the old Bureau of Air Commerce.WPA labor and funds were used as were contributions of state aeronautical commissions, committees, and local groups.Some 30,000 markers were sprinkled through all states in the six years preceding Pearl Harbor at an average cost of about $100 per marker.They went a long way toward eliminating the wide-spread practice of buzzing railroad depots to peer at the names of towns placed under eaves, a direct cause of numerous crack-ups, injuries, and deaths.As a result of intensive studies during the past three years, post-war signposts will be much better than pre-war.Inclusion of latitudes and longitudes enable pilots to “pinpoint” their locations and make it possible for the air marking system, as known in the United States, to be used internationally. An improved type of block lettering has been devised for increased visibility.International orange and white, and a variety of other colors, including silver, have been used for markers in the past.But chrome yellow on black, which can be seen from 3,000 feet, has been proved to have greater visibility than any other color combination and is suitable for more different backgrounds of varying terrain.When terrain tends to obscure colors, whitepainted crushed stone or concrete markers are favored.Chrome yellow on black was chosen following a series of tests and flight observations during which nearly all color combinations were checked in different areas of the country.In planning a suitable distribution air markers, the CAA divided the cot try into “grids,” each 15 miles square markers to be placed near the con of each grid so that a flyer cannot out of sight of a marker any considerable length of time.The original “grid” plan has been modified somewhat, as it I became apparent that the most travellled routes require more markers and that very large cities should have as many a dozen.While painted rooftop markers are “the best possible type” from a visibility standpoint, other types are more suitable for certain sections of the country.The rooftop marker is best in mild climates where there is not much snow.In northern sections, where snows may last a long time, markers should be painted on the sides rather than the tops of buildings so that they are not obscured by snow.Markers in regions with heavy snowfall may also be painted on sides of silos, grain elevators, or water towers.Letters and arrows formed of crushed rock and painted white are recommended for mountain sides.In desert areas, letters should be made of metal strips with enamel coating and mounted on posts a few feet above the ground so that sand drifts will not obscure them.Air markers may also be placed on highways in areas where there is not too much snow, and a large number of these highway markers have already been installed.They are not considered as satisfactory as rooftop markers, however. Another variation of the air marker is formation of letters and symbols with small shrubs on lawns, road intersections and cloverleaf drives.In climates where shrubs lost their leaves in winter they should be evergreen. In all cases, ground markers must have letters at least 20 feet in height, while 10 feet is the minimum for rooftop markers.Many markers erected before the war were too small. If the name of a town is long, it is better to abbreviate the name than to reduce the size of the letters.Width of the letters should be one-eighth of the height.Wider letters may blur, however. In selecting a rooftop, the following factors should be considered: the roof should be in good condition; it should be a prominent roof near the center of the community or near a main highway or road; the view should not be obstructed by overhanging trees or tall adjacent buildings; it should be located where it will not be obstructed by smoke.These rules also apply to highway air markers.The CAA will advise as to a suitable location for markers, but no CAA approval of the site is necessary.All air markers installed before the war now need repainting, and latitudes and longitudes should be added.The 2,500 markers which were blacked out need replacement and more than 70,000 new ones must be installed.Maintenance of markers is not expected to be a serious problem.Rooftop markers need repainting about every three years, depending on weather conditions.Highway markers must be repainted whenever necessary, and CAA recommends that they be inspected at least twice a year for signs of wear.Ground markers of crushed stone bound together with cement require only an occasional repainting with a white cement and skimmed milk mixture.Other ground markers, constructed of loose aggregate, should be repainted at least once a year.Pruned shrub markers require constant care and upkeep.CAA has made no recommendations as to how communities shall maintain their markers, but it is suggested that civic groups may volunteer for the job.CAA flight surveys to check condition of all markers may soon be authorized.In many states, plans for extensive air marking systems are well advanced—work has already been started on some.The Army last fall removed its ban on markers on the east and gulf coasts and only the area 150 miles inland along the west coast is now subject to the restrictions.Although labor and equipment shortages are hindering installations elsewhere to some extent, there is much enthusiasm for the program.State aeronautical commissions in Tennessee, Alabama, South Carolina, Minnesota, Nebraska, Illinois, West Virginia, and Connecticut have their programs ready and some work started. In Massachusetts, North Carolina and Missouri—states which have no aeronautical commissions—committees have planned state-wide programs in which cities will participate by placing their own markers.The Civil Air Patrol is backing the program in North Carolina, and the CAP in Texas has begun a project to mark 500 Texas towns.Chambers of commerce in the state are also cooperating.Pennsylvania has a well-advanced program.In many other states, legislation providing funds and working methods is under way.Illuminated air markers are included in the post-war sky-sign program.These will be much more expensive to construct, maintain, and operate, but they will be the last word in aerial signposts.Two general illumination systems are applicable: direct light, in which markers are outlined by exposed incandescent lamps or gaseous-discharge tubes, placed along the center line of letters and symbols; and reflected light, in which case either floodlight projectors with spread lenses or industrial reflectors are arranged to give a uniform distribution of light over the entire surface of the markers.The direct light method is more effective than floodlighting because it gives greater brilliance.Either method may be used for roof markers, while reflected light is considered best for ground markers.Oil companies have installed a very few illuminated markers—a general installation program is not an immediate prospect.Incidentally, while the exact origin of air markers is somewhat clouded, Mrs Noyes believes the idea originated with large oil companies.Several years before the national air marker program was launched, several oil companies began to mark all the towns where they had gas stations.The Standard Oil Company of Ohio constructed many markers, while Standard Oil of California and the Richfield Oil Company had large pre-war air marking programs on the west coast—and did their own obliterating after the Army’s ban was imposed.To aid groups planning air marker installations, CAA has designed a set of three plywood templates with which unskilled laborers can lay out any letter of the alphabet or any figure from 10 to 20 feet in height.Templates are available to interested groups.The air marking bulletin tells how to use the templates, how to mix paint, how to select the site, and gives other pointers needed by groups embarking on air marking programs.Air markers now offer the simplest, cheapest, and most effective guides for private flyers and it is anticipated that they will be needed for a number of years.Eventually, radio aids may be perfected for the private pilot so that the system of air markers will no longer be required—but that day, according to CAA, is a long way off.How far the international marker program will be extended in the immediate future is a question that will have to go unanswered until a final agreement is approved by all nations concerned.This should be on the books by mid-1945.▲Giant shrubbery marker, 1945▲Metal marker in the desert, 1945In the early days of flying, towns had their names painted on big white letters on top of their water tanks, so pilots passing over could read those from up above and know where they were.Today. getting from here to there is no longer a matter of raising a wet finger to determine the direction of the wind and flying from bonfire t0 bonfire through the dark night.Since aerial navigation began with pilotage, here is something for aviation fans.An Ode to Pilotage(The following clearly does not apply to commercial airline aviation, since they have heavy-duty equipment, heavy-duty procedures, and heavy-duty training in the usage of that equipment, and therefore airliners never get lost.)Pilotage, the most basic navigational technique available to pilots, is the technique that falls into disuse soonest after pilots discover the ability of VORs to lead them by the hand from one place to another.Pilotage involves drawing a line from your departure airport to your destination on a sectional chart and marking checkpoints along the line.Once you launch, you hold a predetermined—or adjusted—compass course as you monitor your progress across the ground and over your checkpoints.It is the technique that falls into disuse soonest after pilots discover the ability of VORs to lead them by the hand from one place to another.There are, nevertheless, times when the old ways are necessary, and even times when they are better than the new ones.VORs do not serve well in mountainous terrain, for instance.Sometimes they are too widely spaced or in the wrong places: the airport at which you want to land may be far from a VOR, or you may be making a trip into a foreign country where a VOR, or even an ADF, is as much a bemusing oddity as a navigational aid.Or weather may force you down to an altitude so low that radio reception is lost or undependable.Pilotage is indispensable for low-level flying in weather—although it is also most difficult under those conditions.On the other hand, in the sense that they enable a pilot to fly in a straight line where VORs may lead him on a zigzagging course, it can serve as free area navigation.There’s another thing that one forgets too easily: that is the pleasure of attending to the ground as you fly.Most pilots are inclined to fly higher and higher, because high altitudes offer a number of attractions: generally better fuel efficiency, higher speeds, smoother and cooler air, better radio reception and, to the extent that they use it, better visibility for pilotage.But flying high is also quite boring.Peter Garrison, a private pilot who writes for many aviation publications, writes:There is a certain point at which scenery ceases to give pleasure, and it isn’t too far up.From 7,000 or 8,000 feet above the ground, even great scenic chestnuts like the Grand Canyon are stale.From 500 or 1,000 feet, however, even flat, monotonous farmlands become a fascinating panorama, and the sight of cows grazing, and of the web of their paths to and from water, gives a benign satisfaction.Just be sure you know the location of all the tall towers.At that low an altitude, time passes quickly.When your attention is riveted by the passing scene, you forget to be bored.Nothing makes an airplane faster than a good distraction, and the few miles an hour you lose by descending from the empyrean are dwarfed by your feeling of surprise when you find yourself at your destination after a flight that seems to have only just begun.The best of both worlds, actually, is to combine pilotage with the radios, but not to allow yourself to become completely dependent on the avionics.You might, for instance, plan a flight to make a straight course from departure to destination, passing over or near one or two VORs on the way, but otherwise relying on pilotage.Non-directional beacons or AM radio station transmitters can also be used, if you have an ADF, to help keep you on course.You don’t have to fly over them; it’s sufficient to keep track of your progress by verifying when you pass to the right or left, and to get some sense of your position by comparing your heading with the bearing of the ADF needle.Though you can time the swing of the needle as you pass abeam a station and compute the station’s distance, a little bit of practice gives you a feel for “close,” “medium” and “far” in terms of fast, medium and slow needle swings.More precision than that is rarely necessary, unless you’re completely lost.Pilotage requires almost continuous attention.The whole point is to know exactly where you are on the map at all times, and to do this you constantly have to compare the chart with the terrain below.If you let ambiguities or doubtful identifications creep in, you can quickly get lost.If you can’t find enough landmarks, or if cloud cover obscures the scenery, you have to fall back on dead reckoning.Dead reckoning takes its ominous name from the word “deductive”; it ought really to be “ded” reckoning. It is a supremely rational style of navigation.It argues that if you know your speed, your direction and the time you have been maintaining them, then you know where you are and, conversely, that to get somewhere it is sufficient to know your speed and direction, and then to navigate entirely by the clock.Pilots are sceptical of dead reckoning, but only because they don’t use it enough.The story of Lindbergh dead reckoning for 20 hours across the Atlantic and making his landfall in Ireland precisely where he had planned is somewhat overworked—it was as much luck as anything else—but the principle is sound, and ferry pilots daily repeat his trick, with more meaningful success because they know the winds with greater certainty than Lindbergh did.One feels astonished to make a perfect landfall after 10 hours without a navigational fix, but there is no reason to.Direction, speed and time determine position absolutely.Dead reckoning only supplements pilotage, however; visual navigation begins and ends with pilotage, and only fills in its gaps with dead reckoning.In hazy weather, where slant visibility may be only a mile or two, a ground track must be held with great accuracy or a landmark may slide by unnoticed.The same is true when flying at very low altitude: 1,000 or 2,000 feet above the ground, a pilot can see only a few miles to either side of his course, and landmarks that might be obvious from a higher altitude may not be recognizable.But if the pilot knows ground-speed, flies a heading precisely and keeps up with timing—the sine qua nons of dead reckoning—the chances of the next check-point being visible are best.Direction, speed and time determine position absolutely.Dead reckoning only supplements pilotage, however; visual navigation begins and ends with pilotage, and only fills in its gaps with dead reckoning.In hazy weather, where slant visibility may be only a mile or two, a ground track must be held with great accuracy or a landmark may slide by unnoticed.The same is true when flying at very low altitude: 1,000 or 2,000 feet above the ground, a pilot can see only a few miles to either side of his course, and landmarks that might be obvious from a higher altitude may not be recognizable.But if the pilot knows ground-speed, flies a heading precisely and keeps up with timing—the sine qua nons of dead reckoning—the chances of the next check-point being visible are best.Picking landmarks that fence you in is important in places where there aren’t a lot of strong features on the ground.In Alaska, northern Canada or South America, occasional roads and rivers may be the only recognizable features in the landscape.In order to find a destination, it may be necessary to aim well to one side of the course, fly until reaching a certain river or road, and then turn to follow it.The more you intend to rely on pilotage and the less on radio, the more sense it makes to alter your straight course to take advantage of natural pathways.When you’re planning a cross-country for your private license, you may be encouraged to draw a straight line from origin to destination and to pick landmarks near the line to navigate by.Sometimes, however, it’s better to be humbler, and let the landmarks draw the line themselves.Especially in mountain flying, a detour—even a large detour—to bring you near some unmistakable landmark is preferable to the efficiency of a straight line on which you may get lost.Some aerial pathways serve better than others.Highways and railroad tracks are usually unambiguous; rivers are less so, al-though a large river may be as good as an interstate.Valleys in the mountains can be very poor; the topological coloration on charts implies that a valley will appear very clearly defined when in reality it might be barely discernible.Mountain peaks also make mediocre landmarks, unless they are isolated; among a group of peaks, differences in height may be disguised by differences in distance.Landmarks are even harder to find if you use a chart with too small a scale.Except under the best conditions—such as following a coastline—sectional charts are vastly preferable for pilotage to world and oversee charts. The clock is no less important than the compass in navigation.During long legs, it’s wise to note on the map the time of passage of each landmark, and to look ahead at future landmarks and note the time you expect to pass them.If you lose track of your position, you will then at least have a record of your last definite fix.When you are using landmarks that lie athwart your track, like highways or rivers, it’s surprisingly easy to lose track of your lateral position.I had a striking demonstration of that last fall, during a vacation in South America.On a flight from Lima, Peru to Bogota, Colombia, we crossed the Andes just north of Lima, briefly received a couple of radio beacons in eastern Peru, and then dead reckoned for about three hours over the headwaters of the Amazon.It was extremely hazy, and the slant visibility was three or four miles at best.Visibility hardly mattered, however, because there were few identifiable features below anyway.There was only jungle, broken here and there by rivers that seemed determined to mimic all other rivers.Sometimes dark rainsqualls swung across our path. In this situation there was only one way to proceed: hold heading, keep track of time, and wait for something recognizable to appear.The uncertainty seemed endless, but finally—and this is the common, though not inevitable outcome of navigating through seemingly featureless wastes—an unmistakable landmark appeared, a little town called Putumayo with an airstrip, an island and a hook in the river all its own.We had enough fuel to take us all the way up to the Caribbean, if need be, so no matter how ineptly I had navigated, we eventually would have figured out where we were.When the conditions for pilotage are particularly bad, it’s always essential to have some sure-fire landmark somewhere ahead. In the United States, that sure-fire landmark is almost always available in the form of a radio beam.Visual navigation is one of the basic skills that we allow to rust when technology frees us from dependence on them.But technology is never entirely reliable, and at any rate, a skill is a skill; we should not let something so hard-won slip away.Those skills are the foundations of our training in navigation.Besides, it’s good to renew one’s acquaintance with a landscape that, between air pollution and creeping urbanization, is becoming harder and harder to find.❑

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