Thursday, March 30, 2006
First of all, the Mexican socio-poli-economic system has failed. Not "ill", not "ailing", FAILED.
The only reason that Mexico is still a country, is that the Mexican government has been using the United States as a safety valve.
You've all seen the reports about how illegal immigrants in this nation are in the tens of millions, if not hundred million.
It is a preferable state of affairs for the Mexican Government for those tens or hundreds of millions of Mexicans to be employed in the United States, rather than UN-employed in Mexico.
Tens of millions (or hundreds of millions) of your citizens sitting in your country starving tends to wind up with the Great Unwashed Masses grabbing torches, pitchforks, ropes and the occasional guillotine before storming the castles.
Just ask the French.
This isn't the worst part of the situation.
The Mexican Government has discovered that each of those tens (or hundreds) of millions of illegal folks in the U.S. is sending money home. Money that the Mexican Government doesn't have to guarantee, back with assets, or print.
Think about it: say the U.S. is hosting 20 million illegal immigrants. Now, postulate that each one of those illegal immigrants is sending one U.S. dollar to the folks back home every Friday.
20 million dollars a week. 52 weeks in a year ... how many U.S. dollars a year is that going into the Mexican economy? Something around a billion dollars? And that's only $1 a week from 20 million.
Like any other welfare junkie, the Mexican Government can't give up this free cash. It can't afford to.
We can close the border. It'll take some cold-blooded pragmatism and some legis-critters with spines, but it can be done.
Then what happens? Yeah, some of you are already figuring it out.
Mexico loses that billion dollars American-- or more. And it suddenly has tens or hundreds of millions of people who can't feed their families.
That is a recipe for civil war. Revolution at the least.
At the best of times, having our southern neighbor involved in a full-scale coup (with attendant atrocities) is a bitch-kitty.
Anyone would have to agree that these aren't the best of times, what with the Global War on Terrorism, occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, and all that.
There are a couple of options.
The first is to put off the oncoming collapse of the Mexican government as long as possible. We keep safety-valving their workers, and we keep propping up their monetary system until it is Someone Elses Problem.
Perusing the border solutions proposed by Congress, this seems to be the route favored by the current U.S. government.
It is the cowards way out. It makes the false assertion that We Are Doing Something without actually doing anything -- except guaranteeing our children or grandchildren will have to deal with a WORSE mess.
The second option is pragmatic. It fixes the problem almost immediately, and provides the best solution for folks on both sides of the border.
Dissolve the central government. Make each Mexican state a territory of the United States. As each Mexican state cleans up it's problems, allow them to petition for Statehood.
Their workers get to freely move throughout the U.S., seeking jobs where they may; we get to have a say in the government finances down there; and they get to have a taste of being forced to teach bilingual classes in High School.
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
"If you think the law is stupid, do you still enforce it, or not enforce it with regularity? Just curious since I am now getting into LE work myself. "
A good and valid question.
However, given the preponderance of lawyers and the litigious nature of today's society, and given that the upper echelons of Police Departments and Sheriff's Offices can be very sensitive to anything that may impact negatively upon the department or head of same, it is not a question that can be directly answered on a public forum.
We can, however, examine the law as it applies to Peace Officers and their powers of arrest.
In Texas, two pieces of law directly control when, where and how we arrest folks.
The first part is found in the Code of Criminal Procedure under Powers and Duties of a Peace Officer:
a) It is the duty of every peace officer to preserve the peace within the officer's jurisdiction.
To effect this purpose, the officer shall use all lawful means.
(b) The officer shall:
(1) in every case authorized by the provisions of this Code, interfere without warrant to prevent or suppress crime;
(2) execute all lawful process issued to the officer by any magistrate or court;
(3) give notice to some magistrate of all offenses committed within the officer's jurisdiction, where the officer has good reason to believe there has been a violation of the penal law; and
(4) arrest offenders without warrant in every case where the officer is authorized by law, in order that they may be taken before the proper magistrate or court and be tried.
(c) It is the duty of every officer to take possession of a child under Article 63.009"
Above all else, it is the duty of a Peace Officer "to preserve the peace" within your jurisdiction.
All else is subservient to that one duty. Which means that the officer should always ask himself: "Is the action I am taking right now necessary to preserve the peace?"
Other officers will point out that the above section also states: "arrest offenders without warrant in every case where the officer is authorized by law" and tell you that an officer has no leeway in making an arrest. If you see an offense, you must make an arrest.
In response, let us peruse the part of Texas Law that allows and controls -- authorizes in other words -- our powers of arrest.
It is in Chapter 14 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, titled "Arrest Without Warrant":
OFFENSE WITHIN VIEW. (a) A peace officer or any other person, may, without a warrant, arrest an offender when the offense is committed in his presence or within his view, if the offense is one classed as a felony or as an offense against the public peace.
(b) A peace officer may arrest an offender without a warrant for any offense committed in his presence or within his view.
Notice the word that I have highlighted. It is a very important word.
Also, in the same chapter, we have:
AUTHORITY OF PEACE OFFICERS. (a) Any peace officer may arrest, without warrant:
(1) persons found in suspicious places and under circumstances which reasonably show that such persons have been guilty of some felony, violation of Title 9, Chapter 42, Penal Code, breach of the peace, or offense under Section 49.02, Penal Code, or threaten, or are about to commit some offense against the laws;
(2) persons who the peace officer has probable cause to believe have committed an assault resulting in bodily injury to another person and the peace officer has probable cause to believe that there is danger of further bodily injury to that person;
(3) persons who the peace officer has probable cause to believe have committed an offense defined by Section 25.07, Penal Code (violation of Protective Order), or by Section 38.112, Penal Code (violation of Protective Order issued on basis of sexual assault), if the offense is not committed in the presence of the peace officer;
(4) persons who the peace officer has probable cause to believe have committed an offense involving family violence;
(5) persons who the peace officer has probable cause to believe have prevented or interfered with an individual's ability to place a telephone call in an emergency, as defined by Section 42.062(d), Penal Code, if the offense is not committed in the presence of the peace officer; or (6) a person who makes a statement to the peace officer that would be admissible against the person under Article 38.21 and establishes probable cause to believe that the person has committed a felony.
(b) A peace officer shall arrest, without a warrant, a person the peace officer has probable cause to believe has committed an offense under Section 25.07, Penal Code (violation of Protective Order), or Section 38.112, Penal Code (violation of Protective Order issued on basis of sexual assault), if the offense is committed in the presence of the peace officer. (c) If reasonably necessary to verify an allegation of a violation of a protective order or of the commission of an offense involving family violence, a peace officer shall remain at the scene of the investigation to verify the allegation and to prevent the further commission of the violation or of family violence. (d) A peace officer who is outside his jurisdiction may arrest, without warrant, a person who commits an offense within the officer's presence or view, if the offense is a felony, a violation of Chapter 42 or 49, Penal Code, or a breach of the peace. A peace officer making an arrest under this subsection shall, as soon as practicable after making the arrest, notify a law enforcement agency having jurisdiction where the arrest was made. The law enforcement agency shall then take custody of the person committing the offense and take the person before a magistrate in compliance with Article 14.06 of this code.
Again, I have highlighted the most important words.
There are only two cases where a Peace Officer must arrest someone. Both cases are when the person has violated a Protective Order in the presence of the Peace Officer. In all other cases -- including your question concerning weapons -- the Peace Officer MAY make an arrest.
Please bear in mind that all of the above does not apply when you have knowledge of a valid arrest warrant. The above only applies for non-warrant on-sight arrests.
In the past, the Sheriffs I have worked for have made it clear to me that I was a Conservator of Peace in the County, not a Law Enforcement Officer, and that I was expected to use good judgement and common sense regarding on-sight arrests. In using what I felt was good judgement and common sense there were cases where I felt arresting an offender would not conserve the peace in my County, nor would it serve justice.
My previous Sheriffs never found it necessary to censure me concerning those decisions.
I can also state that in my current job, I obey Texas law as regards to my duties, and I follow the General Orders and Standard Operating Procedures as laid out by the Sheriff in my County.
To do less would be grounds for termination.
I suppose everywhere does, but since the only Penal Code I'm familiar with is the one in Texas, we'll go with what I know.
Yes, for those who know me, it's my famous Switchblade Rant.
Why is it unlawful in Texas to carry a switchblade? Can anyone explain to me the logic behind this law?
For those of you who do not know, a switchblade is a knife with a spring-loaded blade, designed to be opened by pressing a button on the handle.
It's also a fairly delicate mechanism.
To see the absolute bloody beauty of this, please understand that it is lawful in Texas to carry a fixed-blade knife as long a the blade is less than 5.5 inches in length.
Yes, Gentle Readers, you can carry a 5-inch hunting knife, but you can't carry a three-inch switchblade.
You can carry a knife with a fixed five-inch blade that absolutely WILL NOT break, fail to open, or malfunction in any way.
You CAN NOT carry a knife that depends on a delicate spring to hopefully pop a blade out of the handle and hopefully lock the blade into position so that it does not collapse into the knife or across your fingers during use.
Is it just me?
Maybe I've been jaded by experience and/or training, but given the choice I'd much rather have someone coming after me a switchblade -- with the attendant possibility of said switchblade breaking, failing to work, or abruptly closing at the wrong time -- than the same person with a fixed blade knife that has zero possibility of not working.
I realize that there have been laws throughout history that got passed on sheer emotion, rather than logic, but it seems to me that in the past Logic was the guiding light of Law most of the time.
Don't believe me? The Constitution is a wonderful study in logic.
The last 40-50 years, though, I get the impression that Emotion has been the major factor in the passing of Law.
Why did we temporarily ban "assault rifles"?
Logically, an "assault rifle" is woefully underpowered compared to a hunting rifle. Hell, some places won't let hunters use 5.56mm to hunt 80 pound deer because it won't kill them reliably.
No. We banned "assault rifles" because some-bloody-idiot got on the TeeVee with her lower lip trembling and started whining about how "scary" black assault rifles looked.
Same thing with switchblades.
A switchblade sucks as a fighting knife compared to a fixed blade knife, but some-bloody-idiot got up in front of the Texas Legislature -- no doubt with a trembling lip -- and started whining about them uppity minorities killin' everbody and Grandma Frickert with switchblades and we're stuck with a silly-assed law.
Emotion is a piss-poor reason for passing laws, and it's about time that someone with some testicular fortitude got into politics and pointed this out.
Unfortunately, I don't see this happening as long as Hollywood has a deathgrip on the mind of John Q. Public.
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
Which would lead to one of us -- usually me -- arresting the five-foot-nothing Benny for Fooblic Intoxidation. Followed by Jolene attempting to defend her husband and going beserk.
Considering that Jolene was, as noted, usually pregnant and about 4 foot 8 inches tall, we usually attempted to avoid putting Jolene in jail. Not always successfully.
There I was, parked in the Allsup's lot with a Extra-Jumbo Dr. Pepper in one paw and a chimichanga in the other. Somewhere in the county a rookie officer was doing his first solo patrol. Life was good.
"SO, car 14."
*Chomp, chomp* "Go ahead."
"Car 14, car 20 requests backup at _____. He's nekkid."
I paused, for a moment, eyeing my chimichanga suspiciously.
"Car 14, SO. Say again your last?" Please, please let me be hallucinating ...
"Car 14, I'm just relaying what I was told. The kid needs help and said he was nekkid."
I high-tail it to the location, look frantically for the rookies cruiser and spot it parked beside a big corral. I whip in beside the corral, leap out and start looking for my newbie. All I see is a rancher leaning against the corral, chewing on a stalk of something and staring with bemused fascination into the corral. I look into the corral, and it's full of chickens. Six foot tall chickens.
"T'ain't chickens," grunts the rancher before I could say anything, "Emus."
I was about to ask what an Australian bird was doing in North Texas, then I noticed that about four of these mutant chickens were in one corner of the pen, crawling all over each other, trying to get away from a man in the center of the pen.
A man who was on his knees, arms held out in supplication to the terrified mega-fowl, begging in alcohol-sodden tones: "Birdie want a Benny?"
And utterly, completely and totally bare-butt nekkid as the day he was born.
On the other side of the corral, was my rookie. Crawling frantically for the corral fence, while an enraged, six-foot chicken jumped up and down on his back.
It was a Prozac moment.
"Frank," Could those calm tones belong to me? "Would you mind getting out here? Thank you. Benny, come here. Now."
Benny turned and shuffled towards me with an air of: I've-done-something-wrong-but-I-don't-know-what-it-is-yet, and staying well out of grabbing range.
Still wondering where this remarkable calm came from, "Benny, what are you doing in that chicken coop?"
"T'aint chickens. Emus" grunted the rancher.
Benny warbled, hiccuped and waved his arms at me.
"You're doing what? Committing suicide? BY CHICKEN?"
About that time, Frank (who had managed to reach the top bar of the corral) was jerked loose and suplexed back into the corral by the emu, who seemed to have World Wrestling Federation asperations.
That nice, calm feeling totally evaporated.
"Frank! Quit screwing around with that chicken and get out here! Benny, Get. Over. Here. Now!"
"T'aint a chicken. Emu."
Benny, still on his knees, shuffled towards me an inch at a time, with his lower lip quivering pitifully. As soon as he was close enough, I got an arm around him and...slipped off. I stard at my suddenly-greasy arm, looked at Benny and noticed that he was covered in...bacon grease.
Arm waving, hiccuping, warbling, and emphatic nodding from Benny.
"You wanted to taste good when they pecked you to death."
Bloody considerate of him. Odd, I never noticed that I had a twitch before. The rancher stared at Benny for a moment, then collapsed against the fence, pounding it with his fist and howling with laughter.
Frank crawled out from under the lowest bar of the fence, just in time to catch an airborne Benny as I removed him from the corral.
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can chicken a la king
1 small can mushrooms (don't drain)
1 cup chicken broth
1 to 2 pounds of cooked chicken from last night roast chicken (or turkey)
Cook your pasta according to instructions.
In a big pan, put all your canned stuff and the cup of chicken broth. Add the chicken and heat to bubbling.
When the pasta is cooked, drain it and stir it into the pot of canned stuff. Mix well.
Pour entire mess into a roasting dish, cover with shredded cheese and pop into a 300 degree oven until the cheese is nicely melted.
Sunday, March 26, 2006
Written by Chris Muir, Day By Day is an editorial cartoon series done from a conservative point of view.
The recent story arc involving taking the resident liberal to a gun range is absolutely hysterical, but the series really should be read from Day One for maximum enjoyment.
Go forth. Read.
Saturday, March 25, 2006
That put me into a military frame of mind, so without further ado: military stories!
Aberdeen Proving Grounds. Waaa-aaay back when.
While going through a school, one of my buddies decides that he has Met The Woman Of His Dreams. Efforts to remind him that he is a penniless red-neck E4 from Dead Dog, New Mexico and that she is the Darling Daughter of a better-than-well-off Ivy-League-type family, and that these two facts combined don't perzackly forecast a happy married life fall upon deaf ears.
He is determined to wed this damsel, and prevails upon us, his squaddies, to buoy him in this stressful time.
The fact that she hated us above all else should have been somewhat of a clue for Fred, but such is Young Love.
I should probably note at this time that each of the six of us were Specialist, Class 4's, Spec4's for short.
For those of you who lack an understanding of certain parts of the military, suffice it for me to say that a pack of Spec4's is best likened to a Biblical catastrophe looking for a place to happen.
And we Had A Mission.
So. We threw him a bachelor party. During the course of this bachelor party, each one of the un-engaged gentlemen took the opportunity to match the lucky groom in vodka shots.
There being five of us and one of him, it didn't take very long before he was completely and totally rat-arsed.
Of course, we weren't very far behind, I'm here to tell you. I can't look a bottle of vodka in the eye to this day.
Anyhoo, Fred goes paws up, finally, and I grab the hat and start staggering around coaxing donations to the "Save the Fred Foundation".
While I am extorting money from anyone I can shake down, one of the other guys grabs a laundry marker and scrawls, "Better Ded Than Wed" across Fred's forehead.
I get back with the pickings, and wind up staring at Fred's forehead trying to figure out what, exactly, was wrong. I finally blink at the guy with the indelible marker and mumble, "You...you mith..mispelled 'Dead'".
Nacho swayed for a moment in gentle contemplation, blinked at me owlishly and opined, "Not enough forehead."
Good enough. Grabbing the rest of the booze as a precaution against frostbite, we hoisted Fred and staggered out into the July night.
Hey, you can't be too careful up in them Northeastern States. I've heard the stories.
I don't remember much about the trip to Baltimore International Airport, other than the clinking sounds of bottles against teeth. I'm pretty sure we took a taxi.
Anyhoo, next thing I know, we're standing in front of the ticket counter with a little blonde gal giving us the old hairy eyeball. I carefully place the hat on the counter in front of her, point one blurry finger at Fred, and very carefully enunciate: "Ticket."
She peers inside the hat, looks back at us and says, "Umm, where?"
Nacho makes swooping gestures with one hand, "Away."
Bobby gets a paw-full of Fred's hair and causes him to nod in agreement. Not to be outdone, Mike happily waves Fred's hand at her.
She went and got her supervisor.
After much hiccupping and nodding, he sold us one coach ticket to Alaska.
I think. Might have been Arizona, but I seem to recall that the place had a lot of 'A's in it, so I'm fairly sure it was Alaska.
The rest of the night got a little hazy. I remember explaining that since we were carrying Fred, he was carry-on luggage, and thus should really be run through the flouroscope. Unfortunately the kind gentlemen operating the device told us we couldn't do that since it would probably make Fred sterile.
Which led to us attempting to ram Fred through the machine, which led to the summonsing of the airport Gardai, which led to me leaning on Nacho in hysterics trying to explain why the fact that the Airport Security Officer looked like Bilbo Baggins was so damned funny.
Anyhoo, we got Fred poured into a seat and waved (hands, despite what rumor states) goodbye to him as his plane took off for ... somewhere.
Next morning, I'm pretty sure that half of the Chinese Red Army has marched across my tongue. In sock feet. (By the way, if any Red Army Generals are reading this blog, I'd just like to say, "Tinactin is your friend", okay?) And the half that didn't do any marching is merrily ramming icepicks through my eyeballs from the inside.
I look up at the CQ (Charge of Quarters) through a red haze, and he grunts, "Yougottaphonecall."
I stagger down the hall, trickle down the stairs, and drag myself to the phone.
"Hargle? Gshnt hmpxz."
"You mother****ers! Alaska?! Daddy is going to **** kittens! You can just get your ass over here and explain..."
The amount of ... volume ... that can produced by the average irate female is awe-inspiring when sober. When hung-over, it's lethal.
I looked at the handset. Looked at the CQ. Looked at the telephone. Very gently, so as not to cause my head to fall off my shoulders, I hung the phone up and staggered back to bed.
Stay frosty, brother. Keep your sense of humor, and remember to duck when required.
Friday, March 24, 2006
I question how much of a recent developement this is, considering that every woman in my circle of kith and kin when I was growing up was more than capable when it came to guns. Matter-of-fact, most every woman in my lineage has used a firarm to proper effect from Mom (hitting mines with a Lee-Enfield .303 off the coast of Malta 'cause she was bored) to Great Aunt Anne (famous in family history for blowing a Yankee
So. Here's ABC
When did we, as a culture, decide that firearms were something that women required protection from?
And why is just firearms?
Driving down the freeway is every bit as dangerous to women as having a gun in the house -- if not more so. Where are the bliss-ninnies to pontificate about women doing this?
More women are taking up SCUBA diving, freestyle climbing and BASE jumping. I await with bated breath the expose from the Mainstream Media inferring that women need to be protected from this kind of thing.
You and I both know that expose will never be written. Women are free to take up any hare-brained hobby they wish -- as it should be -- with nary a peep from the Media.
Any hobby, that is, except guns.
A woman can throw her body down a snowy-mountain slope at 80 EmPeeHaitch, around a motorcycle track at twice that or off a radio antenna with nothing but a "You go girl!" from the Media.
She cocks an eyebrow at a firearm and the Media goes flat barking bug-nuts about the dangers. Bugnuts to the point of inventing statistics and falsifying facts.
By-the-by, whichever editor at ABC
"According to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, it's at least 20 times more likely that you'll use your weapon to shoot someone in your home rather than using it to protect yourself from an intruder."
By definition, an 'intruder' IS someone in your home. They have 'intruded' into the home.
How. The hell. Can you be "20 times more likely to shoot someone in your home rather than using it to protect yourself from someone in your home"?
Sweet Shivering Shiva, the state of education in this country.
Thursday, March 23, 2006
In the less-populated/more civilized areas of the State it's not unusual for the District Court to migrate from County-to-County inside the district.
In my old County, the District Court would spend one week at the courthouse of each County in the District; since the District was made up of five counties, every fifth week would see my county hosting the District Court.
Court week was always a mix of business and socializing. For that week, we'd have officers from five different counties bringing inmates in and out, Feds would be wandering warily about, and we'd be hip-deep in lawyers, you'd be running into folks you hadn't seen in months or years.
If it sounds complicated, it was. Led to some ... interesting ... situations once in a while, too.
We had one of our long-time critters in court one bright Friday morning. It had been kind of a long process, the air-conditioning isn't quite up to snuff and everyone in the courtroom is kind of dragging butt.
Anyhoo, just before the lunch recess in bounces the girlfriend of said critter, just as bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, and perky as all get out.
I don't know about any of the myriad other ossifers present, but I kind of spare her a glance, not considering much of anything and go back to keeping an eye on my critter.
'Bout ten minutes later, one of the constables from a neighboring county jabs me in the ribs and points to the young lady who is humming happily to herself, bouncing a bit on the bench, nodding her head to a beat ain't nobody else hearing and generally just having herself a quietly good ol' time.
Considering that her boyfriend is staring down the throat at 15 years to do, this might be considered slightly off-kilter behavior. We start to eye her a little more closely, just in case she knows something that we don't know.
About that time, the girlfriend looks around and apparently realizes that the courtroom is absolutely chock-full of law enforcement types. You'd have thought she had just seen Freddie Kruger. The colour drained out of her face, her eyes bugged, mouth dropped and she froze like a deer in the headlights.
Bubba shot me a glance and murmured, "Are my tentacles showing?"
Bam! Off she took, hurdled Grandma Frickert, pylon-turned off the end of the row and pelted for the exit gaining speed at a fairly remarkable rate.
I decided about right then that I really needed to have a chat with that young lady, so I yelp "Watch him!" to the other local deputy and off I go. A thought that apparently also occured to at least two other officers from various departments and counties, 'cause they were right on my heels.
We hit the court-room door, skid to a stop in the hall, look right, look left - tally ho! And the chase was on.
Up two flights of stairs we go, and her without any armour, bat-belt, guns, ammo, Murphy brick and the other goodies necessary to modern policing.
At the top of the second flight of stairs, I see a door slamming to-and-fro and without a second thought in I go.
"You can't come in here!" screams the Young Lady as she darts into the last of a long line of stalls.
I immediately bound down to that enclosure and yank open the door, only to see that little heifer scoot under the divider like a greased eel.
It didn't really dawn on me, intellectually speaking, as to where I actually was until I yanked open the next door, and one of the female-type lawyers is ... occupied.
Being a gentleman, I immediately blush bright red, and slam the door shut.
Then I remember what I'm actually doing, ie., in pursuit of a suspect, swear venomously, yank the stall back open and the lady lawyer points right.
Off I go, ripping open stall doors until I see the quarry scoot out from under the last stall on her hands and knees and proceed - still crawling - out the door to the Ladies Room.
Where my two chicken-spit colleagues who just couldn't bring themselves to enter the womens rest-room are laying in crafty ambush.
And, had she not been crawling, they would have collared her quite nicely; unfortunately she's a little ... shorter... than they had expected and they miss.
I, however, do not miss. The officer I don't wipe out with the door, I promptly plough into the tile.
It's not a shining moment for the Good Guys.
We scramble back to our feet, she does the same and off we go back down the same two flights of stairs that we just now came up.
Fortunately for the ego of the home team, the Sheriff had been notified by the other local deputy and was coming to the ruckus. Little Miss Gazelle spotted him on the way down the stairs and attempted to dart past him, whereupon he clotheslined her right there in front of God and Lady Justice.
We haul her little butt off to jail where we find a large quantity of meth stowed away in her sock.
Anyhoo, a little bit later I'm taking the Probable Cause affidavit up to the DA's office and -- you guessed it -- the lady lawyer I tip my hat to as I enter the office takes one look at me and yelps: "Pervert!" at the top of her not-inconsiderable lungs.
Note that the kidnapped peaceniks were rescued in a raid conducted by Coalition - read American - military forces.
Contrast this with the press release by the Christian Peacemeaker Team High Command:
See anything kind of missing in that there little press release? Like, maybe any mention of the military role?
No, according to Peacenik HQ their peaceable yutzes were "released". Kind of gives the impression that Johnny Terr saw the light, joined in a chorus of "Kumbayah", opened the gates and let the pacifistic granola gambol away with nary a care in the world, doesn't it?
Now, granted, technically said granola was "released", but one must admit that when captured bad guys are interrogated, intelligence is gathered, and knuckle-dragging kids with great big guns and bigger balls wind up kicking in the door and escorting unlawfully detained folks to safety, the word "rescued" fits the bill better.
However, let us not forget that we are speaking of pacifists here. To admit that the hated military pulled their peacenik heads off the chopping block is just too big of a pill to swallow.
George Orwell is reputed to have said: "People sleep peaceably in their beds only because rough men stand ready in the night to do violence on their behalf."
A simple concept, and so very true. Let us tweak it a bit:
Pacifists are able to believe as they do only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.
One of these days I'm going to get a pacifist to admit to the truth of that, at which time I will probably expire from sheer astonishment.
Don't get me wrong. The Christian Peacemaker Teams live in a cotton-candy pink-ish fuzzy-bunny happy land, and I do not begrudge them this. Reality is a brutal, nasty, unfair place, and it isn't for everyone.
I wouldn't mind, however, if Christian Peacemaker Team HQ might see fit to offer a tiny tip of the hat to the kids who knowingly went in harms way to pull three granola pacifist asses out of the metaphorical fire.
I wouldn't think a tiny bit of gratitude would be out of place in Fuzzy Bunny Happy Land.
Hah! I made a funny! Sometimes I slay me.
Great Jumping Horned Toads! Peacenik HQ has edited their press release!
"Our hearts are filled with joy today as we heard that Harmeet Singh Sooden, Jim Loney and Norman Kember have been safely released in Baghdad."
Has been changed to:
"Our hearts are filled with joy today as we heard that Harmeet Singh Sooden, Jim Loney and Norman Kember have been freed safely in Baghdad."
Those wanting to read the original, unaltered press release can read it here:
That is, you can read it until the Department of Truth at Peacemaker HQ remembers which publications they sent the original release to.
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
One would tend to think that this sort of thing would be held at a facility dedicated to dealing with the ... idiosyncracies ... of those whom we gently refer to as: "Crazier than a ****house rat, Sheriff."
One would be wrong.
Yes. First floor. Back hall of the County Courthouse. Mixed in amongst the couples getting married, the couples getting divorced, Family Court, Juvenile Court and the occasional navigationally-impaired pedestrian, we had a solid handful of folks that even the kindest, most sympathetic person on God's Green Earth would have to describe as "flat barking bugnuts" -- and their minders.
Sometimes it's a wee bit difficult trying to distinguish those doing the minding from those being minded, I'm here to tell you.
I'm pretty sure that the Chief Keeper of the Primate House of any urban zoo has days like this.
Anyhoo, Conspiracy theorists in the wild can be fun, if you're a cop.
Long time ago we had this gentleman whose mental wiring maybe wasn't quite up to code occupying a trailer in a village north of town, the walls of which he had lined with fine-gauge copper mesh.
Once in a while, the Cthulu Advance Landing Force, or whoever, would stumble across his hide-out, and he'd wake up his neighbors running around the old homestead at three in the morning carrying one of those million-candle-power searchlights and a Benelli M121.
Being the night deputy, I'd scoot out there, step around the protective designs laid out in bricks in the front yard, feed a Twinkie to his Rottweiler and tell the gentleman to knock it off.
Then we'd wind up searching the boonies until he was certain that whomever was after him had missed him again and he'd go back to bed.
Small towns being what they are, some bored bozo hauled off and started the rumour that I was a retired CIA assassin.
They did this on occasion, usually after a Bond-a-Thon on cable TeeVee. Some smartass would always wind up saying, "Hey, the 'Dog has a little bit of a furrin' accent, and he wears one of them shoulder holster thingies -- I wonder if he's a secret agent!"
Anyhoo, our occasionally mildly bewildered gentleman apparently showed up at the S.O. sometime shortly after that little rumour got to going around for the umpteenth time and handed the Sheriff a hand-written FOIA form demanding: 1)my 'secret file', 2) a DNA sample, and 3)my family history.
Then he sent me a registered letter, informing me that the village (and his trailer) had been nationalized, and it was a high felony for Agents of Change to enter his zone.
I spent the next day parked down the street, watching his trailer through a Viewmaster and occasionally (furtively) whispering into my watch.
Him and his dog packed up and left town that night.
It's the little things.
Monday, March 20, 2006
Apropos of nothing, as I sit here noshing on a chunk of rosemary-garnished mesquite-grilled salmon, I discover that today is Meatout 2006.
Seems this MeatOut business is the: "World's Largest Grassroots Diet Education Campaign" "Meatout is an international observance helping individuals evolve to a wholesome, nonviolent diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains. The purpose is to expose the public to the joys and benefits of a plant-based diet, while promoting the availability and selection of meat and dairy alternatives in mainstream grocery stores, restaurants, and catering operations."
Been in business since 1985.
I discover this, because some enterprising little bugsnipe has plastered flyers stating the above in every door and under every windshield wiper in the neighborhood.
Goodness. First time I ever heard of them.
Folks, if y'all'd let me know ahead of time, I could have had a BBQ brisket pic-nic for family and friends this evening.
Ah, well. There's always next year.
Not that I'm averse to eating green stuff (particularly if there's a nice chunk of grilled chicken and a bit of cheese on top of it) you understand, it's just that I don't have any plans to give up on a medium-rare ribeye any time soon.
And for some reason, some ... folks ... moving into this area tend to get themselves wrapped around the axle when it comes to my diet. A subject well beyond any concern of theirs.
I drifted through the 'Comments' section after each one of my posts, and I noticed a couple of people asking permission to link to my 'blog.
Blogger ethics and courtesy are a mystery to me, as are most things in the cyber-world. Heck, I'm still sacrificing a chicken to the Magic Elf Box every morning to get this thing turned on.
Ladies and gentlemen, you don't need to ask permission just to link to my 'blog. If my scribbles tickle your fancy, or make you ponder, I'm more than happy.
Please feel free to link to my 'blog. I don't mind.
On the other paw, you'll no doubt have noticed that I have four links of my own. I'd like to claim that I was victorious in my struggle with the Internet Gods and managed to put those links there my ownself, but the truth is: I had to pay my 12 year-old nephew an apricot turnover for each link.
Not a bad price, all considered, but his mama caught me bribing her son with stuff from the wrong end of the FDA Food Pyramid, so the adding of any further links will be delayed until I can find another capitalistic Internet wizard who can be paid off on the cheap.
Saturday, March 18, 2006
The U.S.-Mexican border has always been a violent place. Any meeting place between two different cultures is always a rough, chaotic area.
Friends tell me that in the last couple of years, the border has gotten worse. Used to be, there were rules.
Not many rules, true. And those rules were formed and forged by the people in the area, and everyone knew these rules and followed them.
Not any more.
I've got people who have seen this kind of thing before telling me that the U.S.-Mexico border has turned into a classic Low Intensity Conflict. There are folks down there - both local law enforcement and citizens - who are buying camoflage clothing and asking around for advice regarding weapons and training in the use of said weapons.
That's bad enough, Gentle Readers, but things are going to get worse. We've got the local citizenry getting fed up, while very vocal, very influential, very loud special interest groups have taken notice of the border problem, yet at the same time our Government refuses to take notice of same.
You know what this a recipe for? Yes. You do.
Take one Low Intensity Conflict. Add several cups of Powerful Special Interest Group. Season with Irritation from Local Citizens. Bake slowly under Federal Government Disinterest.
Voila! I give you a High Intensity Conflict.
That's military-speak for a war, people.
If Congress and the Executive Branch don't get a grip on this thing right now, we're going to have a full-blown blood war on our hands with the next five to ten years.
And, speaking from extensive personal experience, when your local good citizens start militarizing, you're a hellua lot closer to the five year mark than you are the ten.
That's LawDogs Gloomy Prediction for the day.
1 medium yellow onion
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon dried minced garlic
Preheat your oven to 475 degrees.
Slice your taters into quarters lengthwise. Paint your taters with olive oil
Dice your onion.
Sprinkle the spices on the taters, pile on diced onions and then re-assemble your taters and wrap snugly in foil.
Place on low rack in oven and bake for one hour.
Thursday, March 16, 2006
I KNOW how this story ends.
Hell, I was the one roasting in the damned suit and I get to hear about it from Law Enforcement friends on a regular basis -- not to mention in dreams.
I'm just drawing a blank on being able to write down the last third of this story. Nothing I write trying to translate the reality into words flows right.
And it's not making me happy.
A big part of the Sheriff's "Work smarter, not harder" philosophy involved the fine art of misdirection -- if a subject was so confused that he wasn't per-zackly sure which way was up, then he/she/it/they probably wouldn't be causing the sorts of problems which require extra paperwork. Or ER trips. Depositions. Lawsuits. That kind of thing.
Which brings us to the Pink Gorilla Suit.
Tucked not-far-enough in the back of the evidence closet was a costume that the S.O. had picked up from somewhere. As the name suggests, this was a gorilla costume, mostly pink.
Now, when I say pink, I don't think y'all quite understand the depth of pinkness we are contemplating here: It was pink, pink. Neon pink. Fluorescent pink. A pink not found anywhere in nature. A pink that, in and of itself, constituted a radiation hazard. A shade of pink which, after a single glimpse, would cause the most flamboyant Mardi Gras costumer to protest that things had gone too far.
Now, bad as this mental picture is, the long-ago insane designer of this suit had apparently decided that having only one eye-searing shade was simply too boring, so this poor unfortunate had added spats, gloves, cuffs, a bow-tie and a top hat.
All very natty, and all very mauve.
We will now pause to give the Gentle Reader enough time to fully digest the Sheer Awfulness that was the Pink Gorilla Suit.
Anyhoo, we had gotten a search warrant. Apparently our Usual Suspects had graduated to Methamphetamine, Distribution Of; and had stashed a functioning meth lab inside a garage apartment out behind the house of, and belonging to, the grandparents of Usual Suspect #3.
Our pre-warrant briefing consisted of The Sheriff reminding us of some of the knottier problems associated with executing a search warrant on a meth lab (most of which seem to involve uncontrolled high-speed random disassembly of various items and/or people) and finishing off with a reminder that the Standard Obscenity Procedure for this sort of thing was to distract the critters long enough for officers to secure the scene without any of what the Sheriff referred to as "fuss and bother."
That's when the Chief Deputy handed me the box containing the Pink Gorilla Suit.
There I was, sulking down the street in front of God and everybody, wearing a neon-pink-gorilla-suit-with-mauve-accouterments over jeans, armour and a pistol, with a search warrant tucked securely in my sleeve, and the Sheriff's exhortations to "Be distracting" ringing in my ears.
Bearing in mind that the search warrant was only for the garage and apartment, and not wanting to find myself in Animal Control's Bad Graces (again) I moped up the steps to the main house and rang the doorbell.
Light footsteps approached the door, followed by a long pause. Then the sound of the footsteps heading away from the door.
I pulled my badge out from the collar of the suit and held it prominently in one paw.
This time the footsteps were accompanied by a heavier tread. I waved my badge at the peep-hole and was rewarded with the door opened just enough for me to be beheld by an extremely suspicious eye.
I tipped my hat (top, mauve in colour) politely, "Afternoon, sir. Sheriff's Office. Pardon the interruption, but we're going to be serving a warrant on your garage and apartment. The Sheriff told me to tell you that he'd take it kindly if y'all would stay inside the house until we got things under control."
"Under control" murmured the gentleman slowly as he opened the door a little more fully, "Are you planning on that there control thing happening any time soon?"
"Can't really tell with this kind of thing, sir. We'll let you know as soon as possible."
Might as well get this over with. I leaned slightly right and looked around the gentleman to the lady of the house, "Ma'am", tip of the hat again, "Mind if I borrow some of your flowers?"
She looked at me, at the innocent tulips on the edge of the walk, and back to me.
"Umm. Go right ahead. You do know that you're...pink?"
"Hadn't noticed, ma'am" I lied gallantly, while selecting a pair of yellow tulips that set off the mauve spats nicely, "We'll be around back, if you need us."
I trudged back to the street, turned left and walked down to where the driveway from the garage entered the street. The garage sat about twenty feet or so back, with the apartment being the second floor of the structure.
The only ways in or out, were two roll-up garage doors and a people-type door facing me, and the only windows to be seen were on the side facing the street.
I looked around and made sure that I was at the junction of the driveway and the public street, set my top hat securely on the mask, straightened the gloves and spats, took a deep breath...
...and burst into a full-blown, top-of-the-lungs, you'll-bloody-well-hear-this-one-at-Carnegie-Hall rendition of Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap. While using the tulips as the microphone.
By God. *snort, snort* I did the works. Vocals. Back-up vocals. Sound effects. Kinda-sorta instruments. Howling. The whole nine yards.
And, of course, Dirty Deeds has that lovely guitar solo, which lends itself quite nicely to an air-guitar -- excuse me -- tulip guitar performance.
Well, if it didn't, it does now.
Unfortunately, the tulip-guitar solo kind of led into a dance.
It was fairly energetic dance. And maybe a touch expressive...
All right! There was gyrating going on.
However, I do not think that I was doing -quote "The gorilla version of a fan dance" -unquote; I don't think that you can do -quote "Suggestive things with a hat" -unquote when you're wearing a fur suit over armour and that over jeans; and I do take umbrage at the suggestion that I -quote "Gave them the 'Full Monkey'" -unquote.
And that's where I draw a blank.
Probably from the PTSD I picked up from having to wear that [deleted] suit.
One of these days, I'll get it finished, I promise.
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
I am so tired of these anti-social little pismires shooting up places before they have the common decency and courtesy to off themselves.
Matter-of-fact, the only thing I am more tired of, is the droning, bleached, I'm-pretending-to-give-a-damn pundits who are going to come out of the woodwork like beetles after carrion so that they may have their 15 seconds of fame blaming someone on national TeeVee.
Except the shooter, of course.
Oh, some'll blame the guns. Trust me, Little Sarah One Note and her cronies are probably rubbing their pedipalps and giggling right now. And others will blame the gun manufacturers. Still others will solemnly blame society for not FEE-EEE-ling enough, or properly, or whatthehellever. Video games will catch their share, as will pornography, and whatever the hell else they can think of.
Doesn't anyone ever blame the critter? Is there no one to stand forth and say: "I figgered as much. Thought he was a bad 'un from the git go. Boy needed killin'."
No. Hundreds of plastic-faced news anchors and reporters will solemnly intone about this "Good kid. Had some problems, but he was an angel."
Bushwa. Bushwa, bushwa, bushwa.
If Mama's little angel walks into a public area and starts shooting people for no good reason, you can bet your last bippy on two things: 1) Someone, somewhere at some time saw the demon inside the little bastard and chose not to do anything about it; and
2) The little sonuvabitch isn't going to go start shooting people at the local gun show, Knob Creek, the local SWAT training facility, CHL class, LFI range, or anywhere else that someone is going to put a bullet between his running lights just as soon as he gets stupid.
Now let us discuss two things this isn't:
1) This isn't a "Cry for help". Bushwa. A "Cry for help" is putting your godsdamned paw in the air and saying, "Help." A "Cry for help" is walking into your local Crisis Center and screaming for help. A "Cry for help" is calling 911 and getting stupid, so that those of us who volunteered for violence can come discuss your fecking issues -- away from innocents.
2) This isn't a "suicidal gesture". Bushwa. A "suicidal gesture" is going and taking a flying leap off a deserted bridge somewhere. A "suicidal gesture" is eating your sodding pistol in a motel room somewhere. A "suicidal gesture" is getting stupid with the Law on a deserted road somewhere and we have to shoot your dumb arse -- away from innocents.
This act was craven, and cowardly, and contemptible. And for all that -- and more -- it doesn't stoop nearly as far as those who are going to use this act and those dead folks as political fodder to advance their own agendas.
I weep with those who lost family today.
I hope the critter who pulled this stunt is roasting right now.
As for those who play The Blame Game, and those who feast on this for gain: Nothing but the back of my hand to you.
When my brother and I were wee pups, Mom and Dad got us matching chemistry sets.
Not the wussy ones that stores sell now, but the good, old-fashioned, "Hey, Dad! What's potassium chlorate?" ones that would send the EPA and ATF into conniption fits.
'Course, the first thing Chris and I did was blow the back steps off of the house, resulting in Mom removing the chlorates, and permangenates from the kits...
Anyhoo, Chris and I had found a procedure for separating water into its component hydrogen and oxygen, and immediately saw the potential for lighter-than-air craft design.
Wait for it.
Well, we whipped together a dirigible from Dads spare pipe cleaners -- all of Dads pipe cleaners -- and a thin plastic Leventis shopping bag, multi-gallon size.
Into our contraption, we piped the contents of the hydrogen generator, and (waste not want not) put the contents of the oxy side of the generator in for good measure.
It was not a resounding success. We had lift, but only enough to drag the bottom of the blimp across the carpet, whereupon Mom promptly banished us to the Great Outdoors.
After fruitless pondering on the lack of lift we were displaying, we went to Dad and inquired as to what he would have used to lift a balloon. Pater replied, somewhat distractedly, that he would have used hot air.
Obviously what we needed was a dual-system design, using hydrogen/oxygen for the initial lift, and hot-air for the distance.
Well, to make a long story short, shortly thereafter we had a Leventis bag floating about six feet off the floor of the garage, with a soft-ball-sized, alcohol-soaked, flaming chunk of cotton suspended below the gas bag.
Flushed with success, we hared into the house and chivvied our parents out to see the aeronautical wonder engineered by their progeny.
Mom made appropriate maternal enthusiastic noises as Dad murmured, "Nice work, boys," around the stem of his pipe, "Hot air. Nice system."
Jumping excitedly, we informed Dear Old Dad that we had a dual-system -- hot-air/hydrogen -- and we wanted to patent it...
Said dissertation being interrupted by Dad dropping his pipe, and Mom abruptly sagging against Dad.
Followed by the brightest, hottest white light from the general area of the garage.
And the whomp was simply...fantastic.
The chemistry sets disappeared shortly thereafter, but by that time we had discovered the fascinating field of medieval siege artillery and really didn't miss the sets all that much...
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
Didn't this gator-mouthed, gecko-butted jackass promise to take his pookie bear and his security blanket and go to some other country a while ago back?
Sweet jumping Vishnu, you just can't count on some people to follow through.
Anyhoo, I'm ambivalent about this whole NEA thing. I understand the desire to fund arts, despite the fact that the arts did just fine prior to the formation of the National Endowment for the Arts in 1965.
What I don't understand is why Mr. Basinger -- sorry, Mr. Baldwin -- feels that it's perfectly okay to pilfer my paycheck for the funding.
Alec, you git, trust me, I fund the art I like. So does everyone else. Turn loose of my money, and let me get about funding more of it.
And I'm fuzzy on why Congress thinks they ought to have a say in the whole art thing, the Constitution of the United States being a bit lacking when it comes to mentioning art.
Not only this, but the very idea of a Government Agency funding art is disturbing on a fundamental level. In order to fund art, you must first decide what is, or isn't, art. You must, in a word, define art.
Does anyone really think it's a good idea to let the Federal Government define what art is?
So, here is one of those radical ideas of mine: It's my money. I sweated, and toiled, and occasionally bled for it. I would think that I should have a say in what art the money I bled for should support.
Something that damned sure isn't happening right now, I can tell you.
Yet, here is Mr. Baldwin who apparently believes (or wants everyone else to believe) that without Congress stealing a significant portion of my hard-earned dosh to fund an agency created in 1965, art will just dry up and blow away.
Folks, art has been around longer than politicians. In some cases the only traces we have of early people is their art. Art has survived the extinction of the Neandertals. The Pharaohs are dust, the Roman Empire is a memory, and yet art survives. Dark ages, Renaissance, Industrial Age, the basic human desire to create art has survived them all.
12,000 years ago, a caveman who spent his day dodging cave bears, dire wolves, sabre-toothed cats and mutant giant sloths with anger management issues, managed to paint beautiful pictures of local wildlife on cave walls.
I seriously doubt that lack of a NEA grant affected his artistic endeavours.
Nor, I suspect, did lack of NEA funding adversely affect Twain, Thoreau, Poe, O'Keeffe or the countless others who used art to express themselves in America for decades (if not centuries) before the NEA stumbled onto the scene.
If the NEA is that good of an idea, it'll do fine on it's own. Cut it loose from the Gummint teat, and let it sink or swim in the private arena.
Let folks keep their cash, and use it to fund -- or not -- the art(s) of their choice.
Monday, March 13, 2006
Since we were located on a four-lane divided highway located almost midway between seven digit cities in separate states, the highway tended to bring us a lot of business that we would have been quite happy without. Always seemed to me that once folks got away from the lights of the big cities, they decided that either what they had planned was perfectly acceptable in small towns, or that there was no chance of them getting caught.
Could have done without some of that excitement, I'm here to tell you.
In the mid-90's or so, we got a call from a task force located way, waaaay down the highway to inform us that they had received a search warrant for a certain car. Unfortunately, they had (ahem) lost track of the car, however they had information that the car was due to drive through our county sometime that evening, and they suggested that we really, really wanted to search that car.
The Sheriff contemplated over a cup of coffee and decided that I was going to be bored that night, so I wound up running traffic on the major highway through our county.
A little after midnight, I see said described car blow through a red light in town, so I swing in behind it, verify the plate, and turn on the lights. Ten or so miles later, he pulls over and I wander up to talk to him. The Sheriff and a back-up officer arrive just after the driver signs the ticket, I ask him for permission to search the vehicle, the driver vociferously declines, the Sheriff agrees that that is his right, but mentions that a K9 unit is on the way. Things get a bit rambunctious; the driver winds up in the backseat of my cruiser in handcuffs.
The girlfriend of the driver and her cousin, both being students of the Federalist Papers, demand to know the reason for the search. We inform them that we have good reason to believe that 210 grams of crack cocaine wrapped in Cling Wrap and green ninety-mile-an-hour tape, and further sealed in a pink Ziploc bag (quart size), is located somewhere in or about the vehicle.
The girl promptly takes off running like she's training for the Summer Felony Games, with the Sheriff in hot pursuit, while her cousin (rather professionally) prones himself out on the asphalt before the other deputy and I could blink.
This was one of the cases where even if you weren't able to define Probable Cause, you knew it when you saw it.
Anyhoo, we're waiting for the drug dog to show up, and I decide to search the two male subjects (pay attention, 'cause this is important), and I don't find anything on them other than the usual pocket litter.
Being the only bit of excitement in the area, several officers from other jurisdictions show up about the same time that the K9 and his handler get there, out comes the coffee, and we have a gossip session as the K9 and his buddy go around and through the car. Wouldn't you know it, but the K9 gives a good alert on the drivers seat of the car.
We search the car -- don't find anything. We search the car again -- nothing. We tear the car apart -- nada.
Finally, the Sheriff puts the girl and her cousin in the car, uncuffs the driver and walks him up to the car while delivering a stern lecture, and something just isn't right about the driver. I'm not talking about a little warning bell going off in my mind, I'm talking a full Japanese drum, gong and bell chorus. I just have to pat him down again -- and this time I hit something.
I spin the driver around, grab the suspicious object, and I yelp: "What the hell is this?"
Critter says: "Man, that's my [graphic description]."
My brain kicked into high gear, as everything else slowed down. I remember thinking something along the lines of: "That's a hammer and breech end of an semi-auto pistol/I missed a gun/I wonder who'll tell Mandy/feels like an cutaway slide/I missed a GUN/that trigger happy idiot is behind me with a Mini-14/open slide - [deleted], it's a Beretta/.25? .380? .380 - [deleted]!/he's going for it/I'm going to get shot from both sides/why didn't I propose to Mandy/I. Missed. A. [deleted]-ing. GUN./fall backwards, get out of the line of fire, idiot - do something!"
All this and more is going through my head, my normally closely guarded mouth is on auto-pilot, and I respond:
"That's the hardest [graphic description] I ever felt."
Just before the critter becomes ground zero for a pig pile.
Mind you, I don't remember actually saying anything along those lines, however, several of my brother officers felt it was germaine enough to the case that they included it in their narratives of the incident.
To make things even better, the hidden object turned out not to be a gun, nor his [graphic description] -- it was the rock of cocaine, hidden in his jockey shorts.
During the trial, the judge had to call an hour recess so that the jury could quit chortling.