Lessons from jaywalking

So there’s been this hoopla going on about a woman arrested in Austin for jaywalking.

When I first saw the story it seemed sufficiently weird from either side, so I figured there had to be more to the story. But you know our modern media and “always connected” society… it’s not about being right, it’s about being first, “going viral”, and if we can be outraged, even better. Right? Oh, and we can be outraged at fucking pigs cops? Even better!

So I waited. More information has come out, as tends to happen.

The story (at least as it stands now) appears to be that folks from the area had been complaining to police about pedestrians not following laws in that area. So naturally after all those complaints, the police start patrolling the area and issuing warnings and citations for violations. This young woman was jogging, with earbuds in and I’m sure music loud. She violated the law right in front of the police. The police attempted to verbally contact her, she didn’t hear them. Eventually she did, used a profanity towards the officers. When they tried to grab her, she pulled away, and that was that. And yes, once you are put under arrest you do have to identify. That is the law of the land (not saying it’s right or wrong, but that is what it presently is).

Of course, everyone wants to be outraged.

Here’s the thing. And note, I’m saying this based upon what I’m reading about this event, and my reaction to all the outrage going on. I wasn’t there.

From the jogger’s perspective? She was right.

From the police’s perspective? They were right.

Yes, both were.

As a jogger, she had her earbuds in. She was jogging. She was going about her business. She couldn’t hear the police. Someone touched her, and it’s quite natural, especially when you’re oblivious to your surroundings, to pull away if someone unexpectedly grabs you. I do not blame her at all for reacting as she did, and I’m sure anyone would have done the same (even APD Police Chief Art Acevedo).

As police, they were called by citizens to come and enforce the law. They were doing so. They saw someone violate the law, they went to do something about it, because that’s their job. This person failed to comply, this person amped it up, and so they had to escalate as well.

Through their own eyes, both were in the right.

Neither are looking at it through the eyes of the other.

Should they? Well, it’s possible that could have saved a lot of grief. But in the moment, well, we’re human and it’s tough to view things through any eyes but our own as events unfold.

What gets me tho is the outrage.

People are outraged at Austin Police because they “took down an innocent jogger”, a “small defenseless woman”. She was doing nothing wrong. No, she did something wrong. Yes jaywalking isn’t the worst crime in the world, but we all know it’s still illegal — that’s the very definition of jaywalking. Furthermore, the police were in the area due to complaints about problems. If the police ignored the complaints, if they didn’t come to enforce the law and work to improve behavior, you all would be outraged at the lack of response from the police. So you’re outraged if they don’t enforce the law, and you’re outraged when they do. WTF?

Furthermore, why is there no outrage at the jogger? She was oblivious to her surroundings and activities. She violated the law right in front of a police officer. Was she not aware of the police presence? or was she just blatantly disregarding? Her ear buds were up that she couldn’t hear their commands. What else did that cause her to tune out? I mean, that area of campus has so much pedestrian traffic, so many students get hit by cars and buses. And then when someone grabs you? Geez, for all the talk about “rape prevention”, I would think you might want to be a little more aware of your surroundings! To me, this sort of obliviousness, this “condition white”, is just not a smart condition to put yourself in. Who cares about the police here, I’m talking just general personal safety!

And then the ad hominem attacks about the physiques of the officers, or how it took 4 of them to handle this one little woman. When I hear that, it demonstrates how little you know about control and situation management. You just want to be mad at the police.

It’s funny too. So many of the people who get mad about these behaviors of the police? They’re the same people who want to give more control to the government, or at least take freedom away from the citizen. Furthermore, they tend to be people that believe “only police should have guns”. What an inconsistent thesis.

Look, I am no fan of Chief Acevedo. I also think APD has a lot of problems, especially in the public relations side of things. I am not going to defend them. Could they have handled this better? Yes. Do I think Acevedo came off like an ass during the press conference about this? Yup. I think the way they are handling this could have been a good teachable moment to help the public understand what happened, why it happened, and to perhaps mend some of the public’s distrust and hatred for the police. But instead, Acevedo came off pompous and arrogant and I fear only served to further sour relations; again, folks are failing to look at this through the eyes of others. They’re failing Persuasion 101.

But ultimately, fault lies with the jogger. And to me, it has nothing to do with “avoiding arrest”. It has to do with basic personal safety. She engaged in behavior that put her in “condition white”, she was oblivious to her surroundings, and endangered her life. She’s lucky all she got was arrested, instead of hit by a bus. We go on and on about how stupid it is when people have their noses in their mobile phones and walk into fountains or walls or doors. And certainly people have had their noses down and walked into traffic or other dangerous situations (see? and from HuffPo too!). Instead of everyone being angry about this, hopefully we can find something positive from this so we can learn and grow and not make the same mistakes.

 

Fucking absurd madness

So… pencils are now banned from school because they are a material to build weapons?

This isn’t madness. It’s fucking ridiculous.

If this was a joke, it might be funny… but this is just sad.

You’ve got to be kidding me.

“McDonald’s is the stranger in the playground handing out candy to children,” Stephen Gardner, litigation director for the advocacy group said in a statement. “McDonald’s use of toys undercuts parental authority and exploits young children’s developmental immaturity.”

The group is the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

It undercuts parental authority?

If McDonald’s handing out toys undercuts a parent’s authority, then that parent has no authority (or backbone) to begin with. If you want to help your child develop in a mature manner, learn how to say “No” when Junior whines for a Happy Meal.

Good fucking grief.

I can’t believe shit like this is happening. These people are off their fucking rockers. I’m not saying McDonald’s is some bastion of healthy living (and frankly I think their food is rather bland), but this Stephen Gardner is way out there.

It’s never our fault and always someone else’s, especially if they’re a big corporation;we can’t and won’t take responsibility for ourselves or our children; self-control doesn’t exist.

The pussification of America continues.

BTW, CSPI is fairly well-founded as being full of shit. Witness here, and this whole website devoted to their bullshit.

Policy FAIL

So a 7th grade girl does the right thing: she says no to drugs.

She gets suspended anyway.

The girl did not bring the prescription drug to her Jeffersonville, IN school, nor did she take it, but she admits that she touched it and in Greater Clark County Schools that is drug possession.

[…]

“She was talking to another girl and me about [these pills she had] and she put one in my hand and I was like, ‘I don’t want this,’ so I put it back in the bag and I went to gym class,” said Rachael.

[…]

But just saying no didn’t end the trouble for Rachael. During the next period, an assistant principal came and took Rachael out of class. It turned out the girl who originally had the pills and a few other students got caught. That’s when the assistant principal gave Rachael a decision.

“We’re suspending you for five days because it was in your hand,” said Rachael.

You’ve got to be kidding me. She touched it. She didn’t ask to touch it. The other girl put the pill in her hand, she said “no” and put the pill back. Good for Rachael!

And for that, she get suspended.

So, exactly what message are these school officials trying to send?

According to Greater Clark County Schools district policy, even a touch equals drug possession and a one week suspension.

“The fact of the matter is, there were drugs on school campus and it was handled, so there was a violation of our policy,” said Martin Bell, COO of Greater Clark County Schools.

Ah. The message is we’re a bunch of unthinking drones and will hide behind “policy”. No one of course takes responsibility for making this policy, and no one stands up against poor policies. Furthermore, no one has the ability to apply a little “critical thinking” (I thought they still taught that in public government schools, I could be wrong) and realize this is poor policy and poorer enforcement of the policy? Wither education. Wither respect for and trust in (by children) adults, administrators, policy makers.

District officials say if they’re not strict about drug policies no one will take them seriously.

Yeah, and if you act like a bunch of unthinking jackasses, no one will take you seriously either.

So… just how much is enough?

This is what happens when you go off the teleprompter… you put your foot in your mouth.

The article says it best, so I’ll just leave it at that.

We’re not, we’re not trying to push financial reform because we begrudge success that’s fairly earned. I mean, I do think at a certain point you’ve made enough money. But, you know, part of the American way is, you know, you can just keep on making it if you’re providing a good product or providing good service. We don’t want people to stop, ah, fulfilling the core responsibilities of the financial system to help grow our economy.

Compare that to his remarks as prepared for delivery:

Now, we’re not doing this to punish these firms or begrudge success that’s fairly earned. We don’t want to stop them from fulfilling their responsibility to help grow our economy.

He should have stuck with the TelePrompter. The President doesn’t get to decide when people have “made enough money.” In fact, as the radio host notes, that’s a statist point of view. Furthermore, the responsibility of an entrepreneur isn’t to “grow our economy,” core or otherwise. It’s to grow his own economy. In a properly regulated capitalist system, the natural tension of self-interests create economic growth through innovation and efficient use of capital and resources.

Put simply, a free people work for themselves, not for the government. Barack Obama seems to have a problem understanding that.

Bass Ackwards

Some Sprint employees stopped someone robbing an Apple store.

That’s not what’s bass-ackwards.

The Sprint employees were fired for having done so. Why? Policy, of course.

Last week Sprint HQ started asking questions, and shortly thereafter terminated their employment, citing a policy that “employees shouldn’t confront thieves” and classifying their actions as employee misconduct.

Utter bullshit. They do the right thing and this is the thanks they get?

I feel safer, don’t you?

I knew they were starting them at a young age.

Meet America’s tiniest terrorist: 6-year-old Allison Mosher, who’s landed on the nation’s No Fly List alongside mad bombers and other villainous thugs in a mind-boggling snafu that could scuttle her family’s Grand Canyon vacation, her outraged dad says.

We’re assured the list is accurate. So I guess little Allison must have seriously threatened someone that took her pillow at naptime or brought her white milk instead of chocolate when it was time for snacks. I guess Al Qaeda is infiltrating our playgrounds, making swing-sets the next big target.

But the list must be accurate. The TSA told us so:

Ann Davis, a TSA spokeswoman, said that because there are no children on the No Fly List…

No children on the No Fly List, like 6-year-old child Allison Mosher, who is on the No Fly List.

Yes yes. We have nothing to worry about. This is all for our safety.

Ronald Reagan said it best:

The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.

Maybe there’s a glimmer of hope… nope, it’s gone.

Everything is bass-ackwards in the UK these days, but this report gives a glimmer of hope.

Builder David Fullard, 46, leapt into action as the brute and a pal forced their way into his home and threatened to rape his girlfriend and kill his sons.

He grabbed the antique sword and sliced off the left lug of the yob – named Michael SEVERS.

Prosecutors said Mr Fullard went too far for self-defence and charged him with unlawful wounding. He faced up to EIGHT YEARS in jail.

A jury took less than 50 minutes to acquit him at Hull Crown Court.

I’m glad to hear he was acquited, but he never should have been charged in the first place. Went too far? That implies there’s a proper amount, so pray tell what is that proper amount for when someone breaks into your home, threatens to rape your girlfriend and kill your children (and torch your house)? Yeah I’d say you’re justified in fearing for the lives of yourself and your loved ones, and would have every reason, authority, and duty to fight back. That the yob only lost his ear means he got off easy.

In fact, he did get off easy:

Yesterday the two jobless thugs got six-month suspended sentences and 100 hours of community service after admitting affray.

So that glimmer of hope fades… a man who defends his loved ones could have faced 8 years in jail, whereas the attacker gets a six-month suspended sentence and 100 hours of community service. WTF?

Reasonable restrictions

See? Reasonable restrictions on Sudafed sales. It’s for the children. Sure seems to be putting a halt to all that meth production, and making a lot of legislators feed good about themselves…. at least until they catch a cold themselves, I guess.

Damn hair farmers

So a 4-year-old — yes, 1… 2… 3… 4 years old — cannot attend classes because his hair is too long.

[Mesquite, Texas ISD officials] say the dress code prepares students for a business-orientated society where appropriate dress is critical.

Yet again we see how far out of touch school officials are with the rest of the world. Back in the 1950’s I’m sure “long hair” like this kid has probably could be held against you. Today? Pffft. I’ve had long hair for about 20 years and it hasn’t caused me any professional problems. I also don’t need to wear a suit and tie every day.

But the bigger question?

What sort of reasoning is that? This kid is 4-years-old. Four! What the hell are you doing preparing him for the business world? It wasn’t too long ago he learned to use the toilet on his own. His biggest concerns in life are getting another graham cracker, if today he’ll get to finger paint, and when is nap time. Good grief. Let the kid be a kid. About the only lesson for the real-(grown-up)-world you’re giving this kid right now is a healthy demonstration of how some adults can be douchebags.

But hey… yet another example of our failed public government school system.