Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Cowboy Blob's Five Question Grenade

I love tests!

I even take tests in magazines. Well, except for the "compatibility tests" ("Is Your Man Man Enough For You?") in the Cosmopolitan Magazine that my ex-wife use to force me to take. Maybe that's why she's my "ex".

Not too long ago, I took Frank IMAO's "Who The Hell Do You Bloggers Think You Are?" quiz. I failed miserably. Like Robert B. Parker's "Spenser for Hire", I wasn't as funny as I think I am. Except I don't look as good slurping up a spaghetti noodle.

Perhaps that's why I'm girding my loins here to take the Cowboy's Five Question Grenade. I'm looking for redemption here.

Are you with me?
Let's see how we do:

1. Multi-part question: Marilyn Monroe or Grace Kelly? Sandra Bullock or Marisa Tomei? Nicole Kidman or a slice of pepperoni and sausage pizza and a Heineken?
Definately neither Marilyn Monroe OR Grace Kelly. They once looked good, but they're a little yucky now. Dead, you know.

Sandra Bullock or Marisa Tomei? That's a hard choice. I thought Tomei looked great in "My Cousin Vinny, but maybe that was only because she was always in the same scenes with Joe Pesci, and Fred Gwynne. No contest there.

On the other hand, Sandra (Sahn-Drah?) looks good in everything she ever did, even in what appears to be the first movie she ever made .. "Hangman". The movie was a dog. Twenty-three year old Sandra hadn't lost her baby fat, but she had "Personality", y'know. (H/T - The Sandra Bulock Picture Site)

"Nicole Kidman or a slice of pepperoni and sausage pizza and a Heineken?"

Another tough one. I think I could survive the pizza and beer, but could I please substitute Abby's Linguica Pizza and a Blue Boar Ale?

2. What was the crowning achievement of your professional career?
That had to be 1990 when I was the "Data Security Officer" for Freightliner Corporation, and I secured all IMS transactions using the ACF2 Data Security software.
"Implimation Day" was a day that we agonized over for weeks. Management expected a LOT of problems when workers attempted to access online forms. I had spent six weeks setting it up, but the Pointy-Haired Managers assigned me 3 workers to handle the phone calls and I was there from 6am to midnight to field help-desk phone calls from people who couldn't access the information they needed to do their job.

We had not one single phone call. Everyone who needed access, had it. The people who weren't authorized to, for example, remove $10,000 diesel engines from the inventory ... couldn't.

It was a "non-event", which is the ultimate accolade for a Geek installing new software.

3. What was your low point?
Oh, that one is easy.
That would be April of 1991, when I was one of the 20% of all Freightliner employees who were laid off. They didn't need a dedicated Data Security Officer. I had done my job too well.

4. You're going to spend six months on the International Space Station as an amateur mission specialist. Besides members of your family or close friends, pick three non-astronauts to join you.
Oh great! This is an easy question.
They would be Sandra Bullock, Marisa Tomei, and Nicole Kidman.
(SWMBO is going to kill me for this one!)

5. It's your stage...every broadcast, cable, and satellite TV network in the world has the feed from a camera/mike in your living room for two minutes. What do you say?
"I suppose you are all wondering why I called you together for this meeting ...."

(Damn! I blew it again, didn't I?)

And this, too, is The Police

Yahoo! News - Most Emailed - Photos

Gabriel Keys (foreground) is arrested by police officers for trespassing in Pinellas Park, Florida, March 23, 2005. The young protester attempted to take a glass of water into the Woodside Hospice for the brain-damaged Terri Schiavo. A federal judge rejected a request from the parents of Schiavo to order her feeding tube reinserted, dealing a blow to attempts by the U.S. Congress and the White House to prolong her life. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
Ten-year-old Gabriel Keys was not the only juvenile arrested today, according to the Mercury News:

About a dozen people, including some children, submitted to arrest after making the symbolic gesture of carrying water toward the hospice.

'Jesus said, `Whatever you do to the least of men, you do for me,' '' said Josie Keys, 14. ``I'm a little nervous, but I think this is what God wants me to do.''

Also arrested were her brothers Cameron, 12, and Gabriel, 10.

I'm thinking there must be some very embarassed police officers in Pinellas Park, Florida, tonight.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

This .. is the police!

Yahoo! News - AFP Top Photos

Haute Couture, Hair Curlers, and a Heater.

"I'm out of estrogen, and I've got a gun. Don't mess with me, Fellows".

No terrorists were injured during the filming of this fashion show!

Yahoo! News - Minnesota School Shooter Wore Bullet-Proof Vest

Yahoo! News - Minnesota School Shooter Wore Bullet-Proof Vest

EMIDJI, Minn. (Reuters) - A 16-year-old boy who killed nine people and then himself on a Minnesota Indian reservation was wearing a bullet-proof vest when he chased a teacher and fellow students into a classroom and gunned them down, the FBI said on Tuesday.
As much as I dislike quoting Yahoo, Reuters or AOL, this is confirmed by at all three sources:

The boy accused of killing nine people in a shooting spree first shot his grandfather and his companion, then donned the man's police-issue gunbelt and bulletproof vest before heading to the high school, where he shot students and teachers at random, authorities said Tuesday.

AOL has used the above cherubic photo to headline its news item, and Yahoo has specifically captioned it as "Jeff Weise" although neither AOL nor Yahoo has stated that it is a recent photo.

FBI agent Michael Tabman gave the first official account of the worst school killing in the United States since the Columbine massacre in 1999 in which two teenagers killed 13 people.

Tabman told reporters that Weise started by shooting dead his grandfather Daryl Lussier, 58, a sergeant in the local police, and Lussier's companion Michelle Sigana, 32.

The teenager took his grandfather's police bulletproof vest, gun belt and police car, "and drove to the school, driving up right to the door," Tabman said. He was armed with the handgun, another .40 calibre handgun and a shotgun.

There he was confronted by two unarmed security guards. Weise shot dead one of them, Derrick Brun, while another fled inside.

Inside the school Weise fired at a teacher, Neva Winnecoup-Rogers, 62, and a group of students in the corridor and followed them.

"He pursued them into a classroom. It is there he opened fire, killing a number of students and the teacher. Shortly after that, Mr. Weise continued to roam through the school, firing randomly," Tabman said.

One of the dead students was 14 and four were aged 15. At least three were girls.

Weise fired into the door of other classrooms where teachers and students barred the doors to stop him getting in.

A student, Sondra Hegstrom, heard shooting from an adjoining classroom, she told the local newspaper, The Pioneer.

"You could hear a girl saying, 'No, Jeff. Quit! Quit! Leave me alone. Why are you doing this?' Boom, boom, boom, and then no more screaming," she said.

"I looked him in the eye and ran in a room, and that's when I hid," she said. "I called 911 from a cell phone and they said, 'Just sit there and wait until the cops come.'"

The Pioneer quoted another student as saying the killer pointed his gun at a boy, changed his mind, smiled, waved and shot somebody else.

The police and fire departments received several emergency calls from students and teachers trapped in classrooms.

Four police arrived, Tabman said, and one opened fire at the gunman who shot back.

Weise then withdrew to the classroom where he had killed the teacher and students and took his own life, the FBI agent said.

This young maniac ("Mr. Weise"!) presented his armed self to two (unarmed) security officers and a number of teachers, and nobody was able to defend either themself or the students whose safety was entrusted to their care.

This resulted in " ... the worst school killing in the United States since the Columbine massacre ..."

Columbine was six years ago, and what have we learned from it?


Our country is still determined to forbid armed teachers and security officers ... or anybody else .. access to school property.

Even though we KNOW that students can be bullied to the point of desperation, we are still unwilling to take common-sense measures to defend the general body of students, and faculty and staff, from deadlyl assault.

This, after September 11, which taught us terrorists need not be home-grown to be deadly.

This, after the Russian school shootings which taught us that police are powerless once terrorists have established themselves in a school in a hostage situation.

This, after Columbine, which taught us that if non-mainstream students are ignored, if their derision by their fellow students is ignored, their anger and adolescent angst may cause them to lash out in the most extreme manner,

Instead of addressing the root-cause of these attacks, instead of being on the lookout for these 'children left behind', our leaders have decided to resolve the situations by limiting the ability of responsible people to defend themselves and their charges.

It's a sad day when teachers in our schools are unable to defend their students. The consequences are, now, predictable.

We wonder who is responsible for this kind atrocity. The Brady People say it's our national leaders, because the Federal Government is unwilling to apply extreme measures of Gun Control. They have said that the only American Citizens who should possess firearms are the military and the police.

But this boy killed the police, and stole the firearms from the 'governmental agency' which even the Brady People say should possess them.

When we are all unarmed except for the military and the police, and criminals resort to taking firearms from the military or the police, what does that make of the rest of us?

Lambs ... to the slaughter.

I don't want to be slaughtered. And I don't want my children to be slaughtered. It seems that my choices are to be either an armed criminal, or an unarmed victim.

I'm not happy with my choices.

What do you think I should do about it?

I work on a college campus, and I am required to NOT carry firearms even though I have a CCH (Carry Concealed Handgun) permit. If I do carry a handgun, I can be prosecuted and I can lose my job ... even though the laws in this grey-area are vague.

I sure hope someone else in my work area has more courage of his convictions than do I, because I'm too concerned about keeping my job, and maintaining my non-incarcerated status (I won't say "Liberty" or "Freedom") to carry a handgun on school property. For my survival, I rely on the good will of any random person who may or may not choose to walk onto the school grounds and start killing people.

This is probably ... nay, apparently ... not a good bet. And I'm not proud of myself for caring more about preserving my job than for preserving the lives of the people around me.

Personally, I think that the best solution to securing the safety and well-being of people is if everyone who was able to be 'vetted' as a responsible person (the mechanism has already been established, in the CCH licensing process) to openly carry. I believe this would not only send a message to potential attackers that they would not be able to carry out their warped plans to murder innocents, but also provide the means to stop the predations of those who are too sick, too angry, or otherwise too fanatic to be warned away from our children.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Albany Democrat-Herald : Olson Against Firearms Bills

.: Albany Democrat-Herald :. Archives

Olson against firearm bills

More than two dozen bills dealing with firearms are pending in the Legislature, and Albany's state representative takes a dim view of most.

"The bottom line, the way I look at it, is that I don't want bills just chipping away at the Second Amendment," Rep. Andy Olson, R-Albany, said in an interview Friday.

According to his count, 14 gun-related bills have been introduced in the Senate and 15 in the House.

Except for a couple, Olson said they would all be heard by the House Judiciary Committee, on which he serves.

Among the bills Olson said he would oppose is SB 335, which would allow school districts to prohibit persons with permits to carry concealed weapons to carry them on school property.

He called the bill a "solution looking for a problem."

Olson spent his career in the Oregon State Police before he retired and later ran for office. He said he had not heard of any firearm-related problems caused in schools by people with concealed-weapons permits.

Olson also spoke against proposed bans on so-called "assault weapons" and large-capacity magazines.

"I'm opposed to that," he said. "These are not automatic weapons we're talking about."

The guns targeted by the proposed bans don't often figure in crimes, according to him.

"The majority of time suspects use handguns," he said. "They want to keep them concealed."

If any of the Senate bills make it to the House, Olson predicted that most of them would be opposed in House Judiciary.

Our congratulations to Rep. Andy Olson, who is willing to stand up and say :

"I'm opposed to that," ... "These are not automatic weapons we're talking about."
Well, yes. As far as he gies in his opposition, that's true.

Currently it is not a CRIME for a person with a Concealed Carry Handgun (CCH) in Oregon to possess a handgun on school property. This includes a person who is a CCH holder (as I am) who workes on the premises of a State University (as I am) and, for example, places said handgun in the trunk of his car preparatory to going to work at, and parking on the premises of, a State University for the purpose of having it immediatelly avaliable for the purposes of driving immediatelyl to and off-site location to engage in practice. (Which I have, of course, never done and will never in the future do! Even though I would not be in immediate control of the handgun, I have moved said handgun to a location within the confines of a University, which is a School ... wheter or not I recognize that this constitutes "A School" and which is not, at the moment, a felonious crime.)

Hwever, SB 335 is a bit more far-reaching than evern Rep. Olson has noticed.

Note here some details of the proposed Oregon Senate Bill 335:

SECTION 1. ORS 166.370 is amended to read:
166.370. (1) Any person who intentionally possesses a loaded or
unloaded firearm or any other instrument used as a dangerous
weapon, while in or on a public building, shall upon conviction
be guilty of a Class C felony.

Note the differences here? The title of the bill seems to involve only a "firearm", but the actual text of the bill includes "...any other instrument used as a dangerous weapon ...".

This opens up an entire other can of worms.

First, let's back up and talk about "firearms" and "Concealled Carry Handgun Permit Holders:

(d) { + Except as otherwise provided in subsection (5) of this
section, + } a person who is licensed under ORS 166.291 and
166.292 to carry a concealed handgun.
(e) A person who is authorized by the officer or agency that
controls the public building to possess a firearm or dangerous
weapon in that public building.
(f) Possession of a firearm on school property if the firearm:
(A) Is possessed by a person who is not otherwise prohibited
from possessing the firearm; and
(B) Is unloaded and locked in a motor vehicle.
(4) The exceptions listed in subsection (3)(b) to (f) of this
section constitute affirmative defenses to a charge of violating
subsection (1) of this section.
{ + (5) A school district board may prohibit persons licensed
under ORS 166.291 and 166.292 from possessing firearms in or on a
public building that is a public school or the site or premises
of any student program or activity that is sponsored or
sanctioned by a public school.

Yes, that's right. Subsection 5 says that even if you hold a CCH license, you can't posssess a firearm at a pubilc school, or on the grounds of a public school or even at a place where a school-sponsored activity (such as an unannounced field trip to a park!) is taking place.

That is, if a school decides to schedule a field-trip to a park, and you live next to that park, any firearms in your place of residence are ipso facto grounds for charging YOU with violation of state firearms control law, even if your guns are locked up in your gun-safe.

But wait, it gets better~

So, what's about this "dangerous weapon" stuff?

Within the context of the bill, this term is actually defined THUS:

{ - (5) - } { + (6) + } 'Weapon' means:
(a) A firearm;
(b) Any dirk, dagger, ice pick, slingshot, metal knuckles or
any similar instrument or a knife other than an ordinary pocket
knife, the use of which could inflict injury upon a person or
(c) Mace, tear gas, pepper mace or any similar deleterious
agent as defined in ORS 163.211;
(d) An electrical stun gun or any similar instrument;
(e) A tear gas weapon as defined in ORS 163.211;
(f) A club, bat, baton, billy club, bludgeon, knobkerrie,
nunchaku, nightstick, truncheon or any similar instrument, the
use of which could inflict injury upon a person or property; or
(g) A dangerous or deadly weapon as those terms are defined in
ORS 161.015.

Okay, this may seem relativelyl innocuous.
Except that some of the terms in sub-subsection (f) aren't defined.

Why should you care?

Consider a hypothetical:

Assume that you are living in a 'university town' such as my current residence community, Corvallis Oregon, home of Oregon State University.
Assume that you have a family with 2.5 children, and one of these children is an 18-year-old girl who has registered to attend classes at OSU.
Assume that you live further than 'walking distance' from the University, so your daughter-the-student consideres it too far to walk to school ... so she buys a parking permit and parks on campus while attending classes.
Assume that your daughter is aware of the current lawless state in Corvallis, where expensive bicycles are stolen daily and automobiles are stolen less regularly, but on occassion.

Is it not reasonable that your daughter considers her personally owned transportion, being subject to theft, could better be protected from theft by means of a device which locks the steering wheel so it cannot be used to drive said vehicle away by a person who has no permission to used said vehicle?

What's one common way to protect an automobile from theft?

That's right: The Club!

The Club ... made of metal and used to prevent automobile theft by virtue of its abiltiy to fix a steering wheel in place ... is (other than the fact that it is made of metal rather than of wood) is the typification of the term "knobkerrie".

<>Being admittedlyl club-like in nature, and having a"'knob" (or reasonable facsimile thereof) at one end, "The Club" is readily construed as either a "club" or a "... knobkerrie". As such, it is
" .. [a]. truncheon or any similar instrument, the use of which could inflict injury upon a person or property... "

You don't think so?
If you were drafted to jury duty, and were specifically required to define "the Club" in terms of a weapon, how would you rule?