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Unsolved Rape Cases, Human Spaceflight, George Takei

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A local investigation reveals that less than 10% of San Diego rape cases have been solved since 2013, also San Diego researchers are contributing to a human spaceflight mission to Mars. And George Takei speaks about a new graphic novel “They Called Us Enemy” at Comic-Con which details his experience in a Japanese-American internment camp during World War II.

Show transcript

Speaker 1: 00:00 Law Enforcement Statistics reveal that rape is one of the most difficult violent crimes to solve. And San Diego's numbers reflect that. National Trend and investigative report by San Diego's NBC seven reveals that less than 10% of reported rapes have been solved in the city of San Diego since 2013. That means more than 2100 reported rapes remain unsolved or as police call them open and workable journey. Me As Dorian Hargrove and I team producer with NBC seven and Dorian, welcome to the program.

Speaker 2: 00:34 Thanks Maureen. Appreciate it.

Speaker 1: 00:35 Where did these statistics come from?

Speaker 2: 00:38 So I submitted a public records request to the city directly as well as the county and still waiting to hear back from some municipalities. But, uh, these specific numbers were from the city of San Diego.

Speaker 1: 00:49 Did the numbers also tell you the areas in the city where most rapes are reported?

Speaker 2: 00:54 Yes, they did actually. So, and you know, they, they, they did provide some, um, locations, which, you know, we didn't report on. However, we do have the zip codes and and saw where the majority were, or at least where the, you know, the higher zip codes the concentrations were.

Speaker 1: 01:09 And can you give us maybe one or two perhaps the what you found out about the worst?

Speaker 2: 01:14 Yeah, you know, so downtown, um, nine to one oh one had by far the most at, at over 400 Pacific beach had had also a high concentration at 201 rapes reported since since 2013, mid city city heights area. Those two zip codes right around there had 384 rapes since 2013 reported.

Speaker 1: 01:37 And how did the city of San Diego solve rate on reported rapes? How did that stack up against national statistics?

Speaker 2: 01:44 Well, national statistics seem to be slightly higher. So national statistics came in at, at around 97% of cases still still that have not been solved or, or open. Um, in some, you know, and there's a lot of language there, you know, there's a lot of reasons why they might be open. Some cases the victims, not no longer around some cases, the, the suspect was, was a, is no longer alive. There's numerous situations why that is, but the city of San Diego was 9%, um, you know, resulted in arrests. So it's, it's all, it all hovers, you know, between the, the 90 some percentile up, uh, as high as 98 nationally.

Speaker 1: 02:27 And so, as I understand it, less than 10% solved here in the city of San Diego. But that statistic is, is about 2% in nationwide.

Speaker 2: 02:38 Yeah. And, and the, the, the 2% came from a report that came out in the Atlantic a few days ago. Um, that and that, those are the statistics that they had pooled.

Speaker 1: 02:48 No, it seems like there's an inherent contradiction in this finding of so many unsolved rapes because the crime of rape is often committed by someone the victim knows and DNA evidence is usually available. So can you tell us more about why these crimes are so hard to solve?

Speaker 2: 03:08 You know, and, and you're absolutely right. When it, when it comes to, uh, the, the number of suspects that, that are known by, by the, by the person, by the victim. Um, you know, the, I think, I think you have, you have a, a large percentage that, that are, that are committed when there's drugs or intoxication, some people are unconscious and then you factor in the possible, uh, knowing or, or you know, the, the, the victim knowing the suspect. I think it makes it extremely difficult for, for stories to, to really get out there. The, the, the women that do report just because they report doesn't necessarily mean that they're, you know, they're, they're completely ready to, to move forward or, or emotionally ready to move forward. And so I think, you know, there's a, there's just a number of, of factors that go into it. Another thing too is, is the people committing these crimes, typically they do it carefully in, in the sense of, of no one else, there are no witnesses. And, and so I, you know, there, there's just a number of reasons why, why it's difficult despite the fact that often so often the, the victim knows the, the suspect.

Speaker 1: 04:27 What is San Diego police tell you about the way they handle rape cases?

Speaker 2: 04:31 They have a dedicated team. Um, they have 14 investigators that, that, that are working on these cases. Um, so, you know, their message was w w was more report report, report, give us the chance to, to solve as opposed to really addressing, you know, the, the, the, the basis of, of why these, why the arrest rate is so low, uh, whether it's here in San Diego or, or across the county or, or nationally for that matter.

Speaker 1: 05:01 I've been speaking with Dorian Hargrove, an ITM producer with NBC seven and Dorian. Thank you.

Speaker 2: 05:08 Thank you, Maureen. I appreciate it. Yeah.
Speaker 1: 00:00 The 50th anniversary of the first Apollo Mission to the moon is tomorrow and that has many people reflecting on the marvel of human space flight. KPBS science and technology reporter Shalina Chet Lani says, some of the science to make long range missions happen is coming from labs right here in San Diego.

Speaker 2: 00:20 Scientists at UC San Diego gear up for a daily procedure, placing petri dishes, filled with tiny brains into a refrigerator. Biologist, Doctor Alison Motrey and his team are developing these organoids for a voyage.

Speaker 3: 00:34 It's the first time where, uh, [inaudible] derived from the stem cells we'll be sending, we'll be sent to space. Yup.

Speaker 2: 00:42 These organoids and others from researchers around the country are destined for the international space station. It's scheduled for departure the day after the 50th anniversary of the Apollo missions to the moon,

Speaker 4: 00:53 the ankle Raga Twain crying quality. We copy you on the ground

Speaker 2: 00:58 and just as NASA is doing, Motrey is thinking about longterm human space flight.

Speaker 3: 01:04 We're going to have a human's colonizing other planets, so we need to understand better what's the impact of microgravity on human neuro development.

Speaker 2: 01:13 Motrey says these globs of tissue mimic genetically and architecturally in actual brain. They were made in space conditions and will be kept in a mini lab to control their environment. The only difference he says will be gravity or lack thereof motor. He says he's hoping to see how gravity impacts the cells. For example, he says there could be accelerated aging but stem cells aren't new to space and there have already been studies on the human body and brains in other ways

Speaker 3: 01:41 though I, I have not come back to my earth height yet. I grew two feet am I? My brother is three foot six and now I can like rub his head. He's retired astronauts, Scott Kelly at the NASA headquarters in May, 2016 but actually so I stretched an inch and a half and there was this talk that I grew two inches of just stretch

Speaker 2: 02:05 Kelly and his twin brother Mark Kelly are a part of the NASA twin study. Well, Scott Kelly spent nearly a year in space. His brother stayed on earth. NASA has been studying them to see how space conditions impact the human body. Kelly says at one point, yeah,

Speaker 3: 02:18 I kinda had flu like symptoms for a few days. Had I not been in space for a year and I knew what this was, I would have gone to the emergency room and said, am you know I'm really, I don't know what's wrong with me when I'm not feeling that great, but that's why we do this. I mean, we need to learn these things. If we're going to go to Mars

Speaker 2: 02:35 and Kelly says there's a lot we need to learn. Some of that research is coming from UC San Diego, ucs, d physiologist. Alan Hargins vacuums out all the air from an exercise machine while another health scientist researcher Brenda Ronna is strapped into it. This type of device he says, could help astronauts maintain blood balance by sucking fluids their feet.

Speaker 3: 03:00 When people do things in space, it takes a long time for them to do it as compared to on earth. Part of that is because of the loss of our gravity, but we think the other part is maybe to altered blood flow to the brain.

Speaker 2: 03:16 Hargens and Ronna both worked on the NASA twin study. NASA revealed some initial findings in April showing, for example, changes in Kelly's gut bacteria. Ronna says, researchers are now looking at urine and blood samples to see impacts on Kelly at the molecular level. But she says there are still some limitations to these findings when studying a whole person and not the tissue. You can have organs on a plate study. Um, they're really important for NASA. They provide a way to kind of hone in on the specific environment of spaced and what that does to the organ itself. Though organs don't work in isolation, she says. So it's important for us to do both studies and you know, at the cellular level, at the tissue level, at the organ level, at the whole organism level, um, and put all that information together. That's why she says scientific research coming from places like UC San Diego and nationally can help NASA get closer to a major goal, a safe human expedition to Mars. That'd be it. That'd be great. I mean, I would love for that to happen in my lifetime cause I'd love to go and visit Mars. Shelina Celani k PBS news.

Speaker 5: 04:29 [inaudible].
Speaker 1: 00:00 Among the celebrities at this year's comicon is one full fledged cultural icon, actor, writer, Star Trek, alumni and activist. George decay will be at comic con with a new accomplishment to one Vail, his new graphic novel that title is, they called us enemy and it tells the story of George decays early childhood years spent in internment camps for Japanese Americans during World War II. The illustrations bring that shameful episode in American history to life and the book ends with a warning that it all may be happening again. It's a pleasure to welcome George to k to midday edition and welcome, sir.

Speaker 2: 00:40 Hello, how are you?

Speaker 1: 00:41 I'm quite well, thank you. Now I know that you've spoken and written about your experiences in the internment camps before. Your story was even the inspiration behind the Broadway musical allegiance. What makes this graphic novel different

Speaker 2: 00:56 with they called us enemy. Will you want to reach a a youth readership? Young Americans because they're the hope for our future. I call this book. They called us, sending me a book of hope because with enough young people who are at that age where they're absorbing information that will stay with them throughout their lives, they will grow up with that knowledge of that chapter of American history, learn to or be able to associate that with similar events that recur. And there'll be more of those people with that knowledge to prevent this sort of thing from happening again. Uh, in the future. Certainly we are living in fraught times today and very sadly, my book is chillingly timely. So, uh, yes, there are echoes of the past and what's happening today.

Speaker 1: 01:59 The information in this book is very detailed. You explain not only where you went and how you felt, but the tensions within the camps, the details of daily life and the hostility of the guards. Now, do you think those are the kind of details that have been glossed over in other accounts?

Speaker 2: 02:17 Well, I tell this story from the eyes of a, an adorable five-year-old me and that way, you know, I grew up on comic strips and this, this is a graphic memoir. So via this medium I want wanted, get people into the story. And once they get into the story, they're exposed to the larger heroin reality that my parents were struggling with. And yes, I do want them to understand the story in detail because it was a series of unrelenting Goding outrageous upon outrageous. But when we see this as, as Newco of today, we have reached a new low. We as children were always intact as a family. We were together with our parents. What's happening today on our southern border is children, infants being torn away from their parents, put in filthy, disgusting stomach turning cages. And some, some of them are even, I mean, really to underscore the evil in a, the intent of this government to scatter them in the far outlying areas of America from where they were, uh, torn away from their parents. Places like Minnesota, Wisconsin, New Jersey. And when the courts ordered them to bring the children together back with their parents, they are so incompetent that they can't locate the children or the parents. Something may have been deported already. This kind of horror is a new low. And we've got to increase the number of caring, compassionate, decent Americans who know this and in the future will a number those that will support this sort of outrage

Speaker 1: 04:17 as you're describing at the end of your book, they called us enemy. You do move us forward to the modern day with a drawing of a migrant child in detention. I'm were you at all concerned that that would alienate some of your readers?

Speaker 2: 04:33 You know, this is still from the eyes of uh, me as a little child. I hope that they are human enough to connect as another human with the a situation. Those that are alienated by this story are the very ones that are supporting the outrages that are happening again. And I want the larger, decent American public to be repurposed by people who are alienated by this story. I think this book will be enormously, uh, uh, embraced by the American reading public and uh, uh, the hope people that, uh, in the future will not allow this sort of thing to happen again in our name as Americans. We are better than these, this history that we have and we will become much better.

Speaker 1: 05:28 I want to ask you a couple of questions about yourself. If I may. I do you enjoy going to comicon? I know that you've been here before.

Speaker 2: 05:36 I have, I've done many a series star trek being the one that's best known startrek is 53 years old now and still going strong.

Speaker 1: 05:46 And as I said at the beginning, too many people, you're more than a celebrity. You're a cultural icon. And I always want, how do you deal with that kind of fame?

Speaker 2: 05:56 Well, this is all part

Speaker 1: 05:58 of what I do. Uh, I have a mission, but I also, uh, enjoy people. And I also am a passionate lover of our democracy and, uh, wanting to see our country be the best that it can be. And I think by, uh, talking not only about the, uh, dark chapters of our history, but you know, humanizing that story and that means also seeing some of the outrageous as ridiculous and they're far beneath us. And so that, out of that comes humor. My father used to tell me that resilience isn't just teeth grip, uh, grinding muscle flexing a strength. It's also having the strength to see beauty under horrific circumstances, to be able to fall in love, to be able to find joy. And so, you know, resilience is to live life fully and, and with purpose and, uh, uh, sharing my story as a child. Uh, and that, uh, the circumstances of my childhood I think is also a part of, uh, being a, a human being able to see, look back and try to use that to make, uh, our lives today a better one. And our government as a truer democracy is, this is my, uh, book of a hope for the future. I've been speaking with Dr. George Takei, who's exhibiting his new graphic novel. They called US enemy at comicon and Mr [inaudible], thank you very much for your time.

Speaker 2: 07:47 It's been a pleasure. Thank you.

Speaker 1: 07:49 George Takei with co-writers, Justin Issachar and Stephen Scott and artist harmony. Becker will make three comicon appearances with signings today and tomorrow, and a panel in room 25, ABC tomorrow at 1:00 PM.

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KPBS Midday Edition

KPBS Midday Edition is a daily talk show hosted by Maureen Cavanaugh and Jade Hindmon, keeping San Diegans in the know on everything from politics to the arts.