Thursday, April 07, 2005
Wednesday, April 06, 2005
I am aware that my recent preponderance of commentaries about Law Enforcement Officers (LEO) who find themselves in ... uncomfortable ... situations, seems to imply that I am gleefully gleaning the Internet for every little thing that can go wrong.
Actually, it has been a bad time for LEOs. I admire their willingness to put their lives on the line to protect us, but their job is so terribly difficult that it doesn't take much for Things To Go Terribly Wrong.
Which leads me to the events of March 11, and Atlanta.
An accused rapist with a long history of crime, having been taken from his cell and moved to a 'holding area', overpowered his guard (variously identified as 'a deputy' and 'a bailiff'), took her service pistol, and escaped. In the process he killed a judge and two other people, beat a reporter and took his car, and held a young woman captive for several hours before she talked him into giving himself up.
As mentioned above, our Brian is a bad boy even if he is capable of redemption.
But how did this tragedy start?
It started with the bailiff he overpowed, and he was able to do so because the bailiff (Sheriff's deputy) was an aging, short woman who was unable to successfully resist when he attacked her.
John Farnam some insight into the reasons why this attack succeeded, and it does not reflect well upon the Fulton County Sheriff's Office. The bailiff wasn't the only one who didn't do her job.
Atlanta incident details, from a friend and lawyer in the area:
"Video cameras, monitored at the local sheriff department, clearly displayed the entire courthouse attack on the single, hapless deputy guarding the unhandcuffed prisoner. At the time of the incident, there were no fewer than three other deputies assigned to duty in the SO's command center who were, among other things, supposed to be monitoring the video:
One deputy had been sent to assist in a courtroom, leaving two in the command center.
Another deputy was sent away by the captain to fetch the captain's breakfast.
Only one officer remained to both monitor the video and perform the other duties. He was apparently distracted when the attack took place and neither saw nor reported it.
I surely hope the captain enjoyed her breakfast!
It gets worse. The prisoner responsible for the murders was found with a shank on him two days earlier. What additional precautions were taken with respect to this prisoner? Apparently none! They did not even search his cell. When they finally did, AFTER all the murders, they discovered detailed plans of his escape route and a 'hit list' of individuals, that included the judge who was murdered.
This elevates negligence to an art form. Anyone familiar with Atlanta knows nothing substantive will be done, and our idiot sheriff will remain in office, unless, of course, we can get him to take over at the UN! You're on your own down here."/John
I may be a little late, but it is worthwhile noting that the March, 2005 Cooper's Commentaries is UP!
Besides the Colonel's usual eclectic comments on everything from Swagger Sticks to the superiority of the 1903-A3 rifle, he provides these comments:
As the Holy War continues in Iraq, it remains clear that minor caliber smallarms cartridges are not working. The consensus we get back from the war zone is that while the 223 cartridge is a reasonably reliable stopper when hits are delivered to the upper torso region, they are not a really good answer to a fight. The Parabellum cartridge of 1908 is simply not a good idea, except possibly in the full-automatic mode - as with the machine pistol. As a sidearm cartridge it does not measure up - or have I mentioned that before?Huh. I can't make 50 rounds of pistol ammunition 'suffice' for ten minutes on the range. But he's right, of course; there are very few 'mag changes' in battle. And if your combat situation has so degraded that you have no available weapon better than your pistol, you're so far out on The Sharp End that the question of survival will not be determined by a 1-second reload.
While it is possible to scrounge a good pistol out there in Mesopotamia, ammunition is difficult to obtain. Of course a pistol is not fired very much in military combat. My studies of the matter suggest that 50 rounds of pistol ammunition should suffice for an entire war. It is unusual for an infantryman to fire more than a couple of magazines in a whole battle.
Kim du Toit, usually the most ardent of RKBA supporters, cites this comment from LFI Guro Masad Ayoob ....
.. and surprisingly (to me), he buys into it whole-hog:
"No, as a matter of fact, you don’t have a God-given right to carry a loaded gun in shopping malls where there are kids walking around. It’s a privilege, and you need to be able show society that you know how to use it and when to use it. That you’re not going to shoot at a perpetrator and hit a kid by mistake."
All the above came from a reading of this article, sent by Reader Richard A. There are times when I don’t agree with Mass Ayoob, but on his central thesis at LFI, I am in complete agreement.Perhaps not surprisingly, I do not share his agreement with the thesis, and I say so about 70 comments into the dialogue.
Somewhere less than half-way through the discussion, du Toit states that he will NOT enter the dialogue ... one supposes this decision is caused by the nearly overwhelming statements of disagreement from his readers.
This may be one of the most important subjects which he has ever posted, if only because of the huge volume of controversy among RKBA supporters who don't agree with him or with Ayoob.
I wish du Toit had continued to be an active participant in the discussion, because I don't really have a good grasp of his justification for deciding that legal CCW (Concealed Carry of a Weapon) is any more egregious thanCCW in a church or a courtroom, both of which he has discussed lately and decided that RKBA issues would apply.
One can only conclude that he is uncomfortable with his espoused position, and is reluctant to concede that his original statement is not in accordance with earlier statements.
My interpretation is that he feels he has contradicted himself, and either way he will have to admit to having taken an indefensible position.
But that's just my take on it. You may read it entirely differently.
Please go read the whole post and the cited link to Ayoob's original statement. I would appreciate it if you would comment either here or on Kim's website.
Monday, April 04, 2005
Well, if you didn't get The Word, it means if that you got to work at 8am, it was really 9am and you probably are late to work.
It means that the after-work time you had counted on to go to the range isn't there. By the time you got off work, the daylight you had hoped for to sight in your heater probably won't be available for another six weeks.
It means that, during the height of summer, it's no use going to bed at 9pm. It's still light out, so if you have to get up early you probably won't have got a good night's sleep because your choices are (a) keep the window open, and smell your sun-and-beer bummered neighbors burning cheap hamburger for another hour or two, or (b) close the windows and suffocate. If you don't have air conditioning, even in Oregon, there's no way to enjoy a cool night's breeze.
If you DO go to work early, and if you expected to putter in the garden for a while before you hit the road ... forget it until June when it's finally light at oh-dark-thirty.
I have no idea whose convenience Congress had in mind when they imposed Daylight Saving Time on the American public, but I expect it's those late-to-bed, late-to-rise politicians who don't work the same hours as most of their constituents.
Lucky for me I'm a night-owl. I don't get to bed before midnight, no matter what the political expediencies are and no matter where the sun is. But I still wonder what it means to an HONEST working man, if I knew any.
No, it's not easy being me. But sometimes, it's better than being 'normal'.
It appears that the Canadian Government has a teensy little political scandal going on, which has reached the courts. The judge imposed a gag order. An American blogger discovered some of the details, and posted them on his website. Then a Canadian blogger (are you following this?) linked to the American blogsite.
When the Canadian Government, and the Canadian judge, found out about this they were very upset. What's the good of a gag order if it doesnt' work? (Good question, eh?)
Now Canada is thinking about prosecuting the Canadian blogger for spilling the beans, and they would really like to get their hands on Captain Ed, the American blogger who broke the story.
Can Canada prosecute an American for violating a Canadian gag order? Can the prosecute a Canadian for publishing the fact that an American has information that is not available to the average Canadian? Will Monty of the Mounties save Tess Truehart OR Little Nell before the train runs over here?
In the hope of obfuscating the issue, such as it is, I have provided a link to Captain Ed's Big Story. And in the tradition of W ... "Bring It On".
I like "the average Canadian", but I do not like the average Canadian Government. Let's give them a few more targets to shoot at. Remember: "Style Points Count!"
I wonder how many Americans the Canadian Government will have to prosecute (after they have petitioned the American Government to arrest and extradite), before their national budget collapses? Remember, they're up to something on the order of hundreds of millions of dollars attempting to impose their draconian gun buy-back laws ... where were budgetted at not much more than one million Canadian dollars. (What's that in real money?)
Anybody else want to buy into the game? The chips are cheap.
It seems worth the effort, to me.
Friday, April 01, 2005
"Hey Geek! You spend all day in front of a computer. You're a Systems Analyst, you write programs eight hours a day. Don't you have something better to do when you get home?"Actually, nobody has ever asked me this. But if anyone ever noticed that this is how I spend my evenings, five nights a week, they might wonder.
The thing is, you can do a lot of 'stuff' with a computer. There's games like Minesweeper, etc. for those times when you're just bummered out and want some totally mindless thing to do and you don't feel like reading.
But you can do some social things, too.
For example, I spend some time every night writing emails. Sometimes to my family, and often to The Unofficial IPSC List. (In fact, it was to reduce the level of Geek-Length Posts to the IPSC List that I started this Blog.)
Sometimes, during the day, I think up questions that can easily be answered via the Internet. A few of my favorite links are listed on the sidebar. For example, I can look up the results of the latest IPSC match I shot, by calling up www.columbia-cascade.com. Or I can check to see if I've yet made GrandMaster in Open Division at www.uspsa.org. (Hint: I'm lucky I'm still a B-class shooter!)
Also, since I don't have television and my radio-listening hours are limited by the requirements of working for a living, and I refuse to pay those leftist-pinkos who write for the newspapers in Red-State Oregon, I can check out the news at a world-wide selection of news websites. In fact, if I'm curious about politically slanted interpretations of the breaking news, there are a number of commentators who are woodified in hopes that I'll check their website to find out what THEY think. (They're entertaining ... especially Anne Coulter ... but they don't form my opinion. Rather, I look to see if THEY know anything I don't know; more often, I check to see if have achieved the zen-state of understanding which compares favorably with my own "God-like" talent to interpret the news.
Or, you can look up the cinematic contributions of Forrest Tucker, which is one of the oddball things I did to support my Geeky READING post yesterday ... believe it or not.
Occasionally, I put the resources of the Internet to more productive purposes. Tonite was one such night. Here's what I did:
April First. Tonite, I pay my bills. Mostly, I make payments online.
AOL is an automatic deduction, as are car insurance, life insurance, and renter's insurance.
Credit card ... paid it.
Electricity ... not due yet. I'll pay it next week.
Land-line phone ... paid it.
Cell Phone ... not due yet. I'll pay it next week.
All of these bills are paid online. I also checked my bank account to ensure that my paycheck had been credited.
Car payment ... not an issue any more, Brother. Paid it off early ... online.
Rent ... wrote a check. I'll put it in the landlord's mailbox in the morning. It's easy to forget this, but I just write the check when I pay my other bills. Some of the websites load slowly, there's enough time to write a check and stuff it in an envelope.
Water and Garbage: included in the rent. Oh, the joys of non-home-ownership!
Gun Club Membership ... wrote the check and put it in the mail.
Othe bills: there ain't none. I live a minimalist life. Money for Nothin' and Checks for Free (which I order from my bank ... online.)
There are a couple of new things this month, tho.
Income Taxes ... paid it, online, for a $5 fee. My bank has a deal with TurboTax which accepts online tax filing requests from bank customers at a reduced rate. Unfortunately, I could only file my Federal taxes with TurboTax. When they calculated my State Taxes, they decided I owed the state of Oregon another $1680. By my calculations, I owed $106. I wrote TurboTax a curt note on their "feedback" website, indicating most graciously that I couldn't afford their services in this area because it would require that I overpay by 1500%. I'll do my state tax return tomorrow, on paper, and still grumble about the absurd socialist tax structure in Oregon.
At least I don't have to pay Property Taxes anymore, since I'm renting. Oh sure, I DO pay Property Taxes, because it's part of the way my rent was calculated. But I've lived in the same place for 9 years now, and my rent hasn't gone up one penny. Tell me, you folks who own your own home ... habe your property tax, maintenance fees, garbage service and water/sewage bills stayed the same for the last 9 years? And when your diswasher breaks, do you have to buy a new one? Or does some kind neighbor (in my case, the owner) replace it for free?
That's what I though. Oh, the joys of non-home-ownership!
Next, my car registration is due to be renewed.
Paid it ... online ... in the comfort of my home and on a secure website. Computers are better than hanging around the DMV waiting for your number to be called. Did you know you can't smoke in a public building in Oregon? Screw them. I smoked a cigarette while I renewed my car registration. Life is good when you're a Geek.
Finally, I received an email telling me that a bill has been introduced simultaneously in both the House and the Senate (by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and Senator Lamar alexander, both of Tennessee), intended to help the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) with their fund-drive problems. You are probably aware that, thanks to the American Civil Liberties Union, the United Way fund-drives no longer support the BSA in fund-raising activities. Further, the ACLU has taken direct action to insure that the BSA can no longer hold meetings or conduct recruitment campaigns on school grounds. The have lost access to many of the public venues where they once held "Jamborees" and meetings. This bill will, hopefully, return their right to use these public facilites.
The “Support Our Scouts Act of 2005” guarantees the Boy Scouts’ right to equal access in a number of ways. The legislation removes any doubt that Federal agencies may welcome Scouts to hold meetings and go camping on federal property. It ensures the Defense Department can continue providing support consistent with U.S. law. The legislation also ensures state or local government entities do not deny Boy Scouts equal access to public facilities, programs, or forums. Finally, the act clarifies that federal agencies cannot provide less support to the Scouts than the agency has in the past.So I wrote to my Senators, Ron Weyden and Gorden Smith. And I also wrote to my Representative, Peter DeFazio. (You gotta love FIRST.GOV)
I told them that back in the '50s and the '60s, when I was growing up, it was EASY to be a kid. My parents were married. We had scouting, where we could go places and do things with other kids, and we didn't have to wonder if whether the scout-master was there to help us or to do bad things to us. We knew we could trust them.
I told them that kids today don't have it so good. Their parents are making babies, then going their separate ways. Children aren't 'given' good role models, they have to take 'em where they find 'em. I said that the BSA is finding pedofiles in their upper ranks even when they try real hard to weed 'em out. The Catholic Church in Portland, Oregon, has declared bankruptcy because of the civil suits they had to pay out due to the predations of pedophiliac priests ... PRIESTS! For Christ's sake, can't we do better than that with the Boy Scouts of America? These people are trying to hold the line, to protect our children and teach them the values of common decency, but there are people out there who want to put our children at risk for the sake of chimera .. a freaking PHILOSOPHIC CONCEPT ... called "diversity".
And I said that there wasnt' a damned thing I could do about it. I'm nothing but a balding, over-aged misanthropic Geek, and all I can do is write letters to people. But this bill could help the Boy Scouts at least regain some access to facililties which were available to them before the 'diversity' thing got blown out of proportion, and I think it's worth the effort to support it. Maybe they could do something to help a worthwhile cause.
Do it for the children.
Of course, I didn't put it quite that way, but that was the general gist of my comments.
. . . . . .
So there it is. How I Wasted My April Fools Night, Sitting In Front Of A Darned Ol' Computer.
How did you spend YOUR evening?