OK then…

“If you’re in a position to try and take the gunman down, to take the gunman out, it’s the best option for saving lives before police can get there.”

Washington D.C. Police Chief, Cathy Lanier

Full story. Additional story.

This is a huge WTF because Chief Lanier has worked tirelessly to disarm and hold helpless the citizens of Washington D.C.. It’s not like she’s helpful in getting licenses approved…

Fact is, what she says is correct. It’s an admission of reality that many choose to still ignore: that police cannot be there, that police cannot immediately respond. It takes time for them to learn about an event, respond, travel to the location. In a good city, you’re lucky to get 5-7 minute response times – that’s a GOOD response time, so you have to realize many times responses will be longer.

How much damage can happen in that time?

And who can do anything about it?

Let’s not even think of massive terrorist-style attacks. Let’s consider more “mundane” events like robbery, mugging, assault, rape. When a violent crime is occurring, who is there in the immediate area? For certain, the attacker and the victim. Of those, who do you think could do something about the safety of the victim?

I’m not saying we all need to cowboy up and all citizens be police, because that’s not how our current system of laws work, nor how our society is structured.

But what our laws and society do allow is for citizens to be pro-active in their own safety. To have directly on-hand the tools that could be utilized to save their own lives. And the simple fact we see more and more professional law enforcement speaking up and confessing reality… that’s what we call “a clue”.

Now if Chief Lanier will just enable the citizens of D.C. to do what she suggests.

Again, “unarmed” doesn’t equate to “not dangerous”

[Christy] Mack’s injuries included 10 broken bones, a broken nose, missing and broken teeth, a fractured rib and a severely ruptured liver from a kick to her side.

Typically when people use the term “unarmed”, they mean “doesn’t have a weapon” (knife, gun, baseball bat, screwdriver, hammer, crowbar, etc.). As if somehow that means the person couldn’t be dangerous, or couldn’t inflict severe bodily harm.

He allegedly forced her to strip naked and repeatedly punched and kicked her, breaking several of her teeth.

Look at her pictures:

That’s the sort of damage an “unarmed” person can inflict. And honestly, she’s lucky; I’ve seen worse damage at the hands of “unarmed” individuals.

So tell me again why you think “unarmed” means “not dangerous”?

(full story)

Facepalm

One of the men lifted his shirt to display a handgun tucked into the waist of his pants, [Lt. James] Espinoza said. Moments later, five or six other men began beating up the 37-year-old coach. One of the men used a set of brass knuckles, Espinoza said.

(full story)

What would a reasonable person conclude?

A group of 6 or so men come up to you, with obvious ill intent (I’m sure they didn’t have smiles and rainbows on their faces, given the backstory). One flashes a gun at you. Then they start beating on you.

I would think any reasonable person would conclude the coach was in grave danger, that his life was at stake. If you wouldn’t reach this same conclusion, please tell me why.

Seeing the attack, the coach’s wife pulled out a gun and fired a warning shot into the air, Burris said.

The coach broke free of his attackers and went to his car for a second gun, which he pointed at various people in the crowd, Espinoza said.

I believe the wife’s response to be reasonable. I don’t think it was tactically sound nor safe (insert discussion of why it’s bad to shoot into the air, why warning shots are a bad idea, why it’s good to receive education in not just marksmanship but also threat management and legal implications of use of force, etc.), but generally speaking her response was reasonable. As well, I believe the coach’s response was reasonable as well. Again, I don’t think it was tactically sound (insert discussion of why it’s important to have gun on person and not stored far away, although in his case he may have had to do it for “youth coaching” reasons). Nevertheless, in the eyes of the law, the response by the man and woman are considered reasonable.

The coach who was involved in the clash and pulled out a gun after being attacked has been relieved of his coaching duties, [Jeremy Burris, director of the Tigers football program] said. His wife was also dismissed from involvement with the team.

“He’s been a great role model” for kids, Burris said of the coach, who has been with the Tigers for a few years and worked in the league for at least 15 years. “He’s really helped.”

Despite that background, Burris said, “you can’t take weapons out around children.”

Facepalm. Major facepalm.

Why can’t you take weapons out around children? Please, Mr. Burris, explain your statement.

“Nothing like this has ever happened in this organization,” said Burris, who said he has been affiliated with the Tigers for 20 years. “We pride ourselves on zero tolerance for anything that goes on.”

Ah, the beloved – and brain-dead – “zero tolerance” policy.

Was either the coach or his wife pointing their guns at the children? Were they threatening the children? Were they endangering the children?

Or have you considered that the coach was getting the living tar beat out of him? Have you considered what would have happened to this man if he and his wife did not take out a weapon around children? Maybe that “great role model” would be in the hospital, or dead. What good would that have done the world, to lose someone that’s contributed to the betterment of our youth for 15 years? Please explain how such a good man becoming crippled or dead would be a better thing.

Have you considered the message your action sends to those very youth?

That defending yourself is a good way to lose your job. Your choice is to lose your job or lose your life.

That hiding behind blind policy is an unthinking and cowardly thing to do. There is no consideration of the man’s years of service and demonstrated commitment. No, because this man was committed to continue living so he could continue to serve your community’s youth for another 15 years, that commitment deserves punishment.

If he’s “really helped”, why don’t you try to help him as a small return for all his years of service.

Is this what our society is coming to?

Unintended consequences

In March 2013, the City of Austin instituted a “bag ban”. No “single-use” plastic bags for you!

Of course, there are some that took the mantra of “reduce, reuse, recycle” quite to heart. For example, we’d get part of our groceries in paper bags because paper bags had reuse around our household, and of course being paper they didn’t create the landfill problem. We did get some plastic bags because we would reuse them as garbage can liners (instead of buying plastic garbage can liners), and we’d dispose of messy things in them (e.g. dirty diapers (back when we had kids in diapers), scooping out the litterbox, etc.). And that which we didn’t or couldn’t use (e.g. bag had a hole on it), we would recycle.

Yes, there’s always been recycling of plastic bags. At least, as far as I’ve seen. Outside the front doors of every grocery store was a bin you could put your plastic bags into. They didn’t just accept the grocery store’s bags, but any sort of plastic film.

Did you ever realize how much plastic film you obtain?

There’s dry cleaning bags, product packaging, the plastic bags you bring produce home in. If you stop and pay attention, you’ll find there’s far more plastic being used and wasted in the products you bring home — in your reusable grocery bags — than there was in the bags themselves.

Wife made a habit of collecting all the plastic films and wrappers, along with plastic bags we couldn’t reuse. Every so often she would haul her collection to the grocery store, fill up the recycle bin, and the circle was complete. 🙂

We’ve been filling up our local plastic stash for some time… always forgetting to take it to the store. We collected quite a pile in the garage. 🙂  We needed to make space in the garage, so I piled all the wrappers and bags into my truck to take to the local grocery store to deposit in the bin.

As I rolled up to the store, I saw no bins outside any of the doors! I saw a store employee sweeping in the parking lot (it was very early in the morning) and asked. He said the bins were gone, that the city came by a few weeks ago and took them.

Uh… huh.

I dialed 311 to ask the City folk what I was supposed to do.

I don’t fault the person on the phone, it’s not their fault, but all they could do was quote to me what they read in the city’s information website:

CAN I RECYCLE PLASTIC BAGS, FILMS AND WRAPPERS?

No. We process recyclables at two local recycling processing facilities that use automated systems to sort and bale the recyclables. Prohibited items, like plastic bags, jam the automated machinery. Take plastic shopping bags to your local grocery stores for recycling.

I applauded when the city went to single-stream recycling. Not only does making it easy to recycle increase participation, but they also moved to a processor that could accept just about everything (e.g. not just 1 and 2 type plastics, but any type). But I knew it was an automated system that sorted things, so the denial of plastic bags makes sense.

But note, even now they still say to take the bags to the local grocery store for recycling.

Seems we can’t do that any more. It may be possible at some store, but I don’t have the time to go all over the city looking for the stores that will do this. Sorry.

And I was told to just throw my plastic in the trash.

Gee, Austin. Glad you like taking steps to “feel good” about “doing something” about “these problems that our society faces”. Next time, maybe you should think things through first.

And never forget what the road to Hell is paved with.

OMG!!!11!!1! Umbrella-gate!

For those having a hissy-fit over Obama’s use of a Marine-held umbrella yesterday, I have one question.

Why is it a problem for the Commander-in-Chief to tell (order?) a Marine to hold an umbrella over his and the Turkish Prime Minister’s head? Because it breaks Marine protocol regarding umbrellas?

Then why was this Marine’s breaking of same protocol lauded, when he broke protocol on his own volition to hold an umbrella over a man to shade him?

Both are instances of breaking the very same protocol, are they not?

Maybe they aren’t. I wasn’t in the Marines, so there may be something I’m missing here.

Look, I don’t like nor respect Obama. Yeah, I think the way he handled the umbrella thing was kinda stupid, because it’s that typical attempt for Obama to try to be cool, but just comes off awkward and unfunny and arrogant. But whatever. Someone didn’t plan for the rain, someone didn’t have a tent already set up, and like any good host you take care of your guest so it makes sense to offer the Turkish Prime Minister an umbrella. And yes, the Marine had to use his right hand because otherwise it would have been more awkward and wrong to place the Marine in the middle of the picture between the two Heads of State.

Why is this even an issue? Don’t we have more important things to call Obama on? Fast & Furious? Benghazi? Spying on the Associated Press? IRS screenings? You get mad with the press or the politicians distract from real issues. Isn’t that what you’re doing by making something out of an umbrella?

Can we stop with the double-standards?

Can we focus on things that actually matter, please?

 

More than you think you are

Wife is “white”, at least visually.

I am “not-white”, at least visually.

There are those who look upon Wife differently because she chose to marry a “not-white”. Some look down on her because she married “outside her race”. Some look up to her because she married “outside her race”. Regardless of which way they look at her, they look at her differently because of her choice… or rather, their perception of her choice, because they see her skin color/ethnicity/race vs. mine, see our colors don’t quite match, and thus different regard.

Either way, it’s discriminatory behavior.

It’s curious I don’t receive the same regard. I mean, I did the same thing: married someone “outside my race”. I’ve had people publicly praise Wife for her action, and when I point out I did the same thing, I watch their brain lock up and reboot because they never considered the reciprocal. Is it because I’m male? Is it because she’s “white”? Is it because racial issues (supposedly) only flow in one direction?

That’s more discriminatory behavior.

Even more curious is when people look at me, they only see the half of me that’s Asian. They don’t see that white girl married a white boy, they see white girl married “something else”. Note you can only consider me “something else” if you look at me. My name is rather “white”. My voice is rather “white”. My attitudes tend to be rather “white”. For most people, the only indication I’m “not-white” is the slight squint in my eyes, the slightly darker skin tone, and some other physical features. And somehow in the eyes of some, it’s those few features that wind up defining me — not my mind, my heart, but my squinty eyes. It’s those features that, to some, define at least part of the relationship between Wife and myself.

Why do some people only see part of me? Why did they choose to see that part, and not the other part? Or that they choose to only see part of me, and not all of me?

Again, discriminatory behavior.

I grant, ultimately this is human behavior. We’re all guilty of it. I’ve come to accept it, and in fact sometimes I like that I look different be it due to ethnic background, my long hair, or my choice of clothing — especially because my looks don’t jive with who I am versus the stereotypes and preconceived notions some people have about folks that look like I do. It offers me a chance to see how a person really is. Do they look inward at the person? Do they stop at the shell? Are they blind to race and color? Or do they view the world and everything in it through a constant filter of racism, injecting race into every matter and issue and problem in the world?

If you want people to stop caring about race, you need to stop caring about race — period. The first step is to admit your own prejudices and faults, because you probably aren’t as progressive as you think you are.

But when we’re doing the hating, it’s acceptable.

A friend posted a picture on Facebook. Some of the comments made me shake my head and against my better judgement I commented. The replies were as I expected them to be. I opted to move this to my blog because I didn’t want his Wall/Comments to become a big battleground.

So here’s a screenshot, with names and profile pictures removed/blurred.

My comment is in the middle, “So free speech…”

First, my personal reaction to the bumper sticker. Wow… that’s pretty blatant. Takes a lot of guts to put it on your car too for the whole world to see. Racist? Yes it is. Does the person have a right to say it? Yes they do. Yeah, it shocked me a bit to see it, because it takes a lot of balls to do such a thing. But it doesn’t totally surprise me because I know humans are humans and will always have strong preferences. We’re a country that’s growing very divided, very angry. This is just manifestation of that.

And I’d say, the comments are also manifestation of that.

As you can see, my first reaction was surprise to hear the call for violent response. OK, kinda passive-aggressive violent response, but still a violent response. Destruction of property. A call for criminal behavior, but (apparently) it’s justified because the car owner was being hateful first, amiright? Hrm. So violence is OK if someone is being hateful, but me possibly using violence (i.e. carrying a gun) so I could stop someone from manifesting their hate all over me is not and must be banned. *sigh*

I brought up “free speech” because that’s one they always love to parade about. Well, “free speech” and 1A is all about protecting unpopular speech. If that bumper sticker is anything, it’s unpopular speech. Is it racist? Yes it is. But the car owner still has every right to say it. Just like you have every right to voice your opinion that the sticker is revolting. One difference is the car owner isn’t advocating violence.

Then my favorite comment was the second to the last. The commenter starts off by looking down on a group of people. But I thought we were all equal? Why this air of superiority? It’s almost as if you believe you possess characteristics or abilities that distinguish you as superior (and them as inferior), and that your discrimination and hate is justified — you know, racism but without the skin tone. And if these people are not acceptable, what are you suggesting be done with them, because they exist… so what to do? Round them up? Extinguish them? Why no effort to help them? Where’s the compassion for those of lesser-brain than you? No effort to educate them? No effort to lift them up and help them become better? No… they’re just “asking for it”, apparently… and I guess by “it” you mean violent response? That’s what the other commenters were calling for.

And we cap it off with stereotyping. I reckon this person wasn’t from California, right?

I’m not defending what the car owner is saying; I find it tasteless and hateful. But what I find more disappointing is how these “progressives” can’t see the log in their own eye.

And then there were 11

Those ducklings that hatched a few days ago?

We’re down by 3. Only 11 left.

This morning as I left the house to walk to the gym, I saw why.

There’s some sort of predator bird.

I crossed the street, and it flew out of the nearby tree right in front of me. It was too dark, too suddenly there then too suddenly gone to get a good look at it, but I could tell enough that it was a falcon or a hawk or something of that ilk. I looked a little further and saw Momma duck and her babies all huddled in a neighbor’s lawn, Mother’s head up high in sentinel mode ever watchful.

I know the kids are going to be on the watch for this, to identify the predator bird and see if it’s the same one from before. If so, I wonder where it nests.

At this rate, I’m not expecting any of the ducklings to survive. The bird knows an easy (and plentiful) food source is here. We noted being down by one a day ago, and now two more gone. At this rate, maybe a week or two before they’re all gone. Get your “baby duck squee” in while you can. 🙂

It’s OK. It’s life. It’s how things go. Yes I’d like some of them to survive to adulthood, but this is just how life goes. And frankly, we’re all more OK with this than other means of population control. We just don’t like how the HOA and USDA folks come in, trap the ducks, then “relocate” them. Maybe they really are relocating them, but since they never give me details and get evasive when pressed, my only conclusion is they are destroying the ducks. To me, that’s terrible. Yes I understand population management, but to just destroy the ducks is a cruel waste. They taste good, and we’ve got hungry people in this city. Why aren’t we feeding them?

I did manage to finally snap a picture:

Trailer hitches don’t kill cars

A friend sent this to me. “The Trailer Hitch Hater Site“.

The story is a guy was driving his Ford Escort Wagon here in Austin and rear-ended a guy driving a F-250 Super Duty. The truck had a trailer hitch attached, and caused massive damage to the Escort. Click on the site and go see.

But here’s the thing.

The accident was my fault, as I took my eyes off the vehicle ahead of me to rubber neck the slow moving pavement striping vehicle which we were passing at the time, at roughly 8 MPH.

He admits the accident was his fault.

He admits to taking his eyes off the road, to not paying attention to what’s happening in front of him. He admits to rubbernecking. And given what he says he was doing, he was likely going through a construction zone — a place to be paying more attention to what’s going on. And if he ended up a truck’s tailpipe at such a slow rate of speed, either his eyes were off the road for a LONG time or he was tailgating the truck.

He continues.

And yes it’s true, I did have a chrome frame on my front plate, not for vanity purposes, but to shield the sharp edges of the license plate from some unsuspecting knee or shin.  This is the responsible mindset which more folks should embrace.

You know what’s a responsible mindset? Keeping your eyes on the road. Perhaps you should embrace that before you tell other people what to embrace and how to be responsible.

I love this part:

The bottom line here is that my sub-compact vehicle was damaged to the point of selling off for parts, and it was all so needless.  Just a classic case of carelessness at best, and at worst the driver never actually towed anything, but mounted a hitch so as to insure that his bumper was protected, which is anti-social behavior to the point of almost being criminal, IMHO.

So because the truck driver chose to protect his vehicle — from irresponsible and careless drivers like you — somehow he’s anti-social and criminal? Take note, citizens: taking steps and measures to protect yourself is anti-social and criminal. Throw away your fire extinguishers, stop wearing your seat belts, no need for parents of small children to child-proof their homes, ladies stop carrying your pepper spray and taking anti-rape courses. Y’all are being so self-centered and inconsiderate of others. *eyeroll*

I don’t get it. This guy admits fault, but I don’t think he really believes it was his fault. He doesn’t chalk it up the destruction of his car to his own negligence. If he had been paying attention to the road, not tailgating, etc. he wouldn’t have ruined his car. The destruction of his car wasn’t caused by someone else’s trailer hitch, it was caused by his own behavior.

The solution in his mind? To call for truck drivers to remove their hitches when they’re not towing anything. No call to improve his own behavior, no using his experience as a lesson for others about how distracted driving can have ugly consequences. No… never my fault, always someone else’s.

I teach my children to always look in the mirror first. Something went wrong? What did *I* do or fail to do? What could I have done better? Always look at yourself first and fix yourself. A lesson some people, apparently, never learned.

Dude, I’m sorry your car was totaled. You could have prevented it. Don’t go blaming others for your mistakes.

Trailer hitches don’t kill cars — irresponsible and negligent drivers do.