Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Breakdown of Order Has Begun

Why are the jail cells empty? Because the Detroit Police Department just isn't arresting people.

Their "statistics" show a decrease in crime, even though there has been a 24% increase in homicides. "There are lies, damn lies, and statistics." I think that statement applies here.
East-sider Joyce Betty, 56, isn't buying it.

Last February, a young assailant snatched Betty's purse, which contained $300 in cash, while she pumped gas at a Mack Avenue filling station. Surveillance cameras captured the crime on videotape, but police never responded.
Decades of high taxes, tough union rules, have pushed business out of Michigan. While a lot of people love to blame NAFTA, more jobs moved to Texas (and other low-tax states) than moved to Mexico.

It isn't exactly the fault of the Police Department. Hundreds of law enforcement types have left the Detroit force in recent years. They are certainly understaffed. They are probably struggling financially. I have no clue as to the level of support they get from the city on the political front.

So while other areas are trying to figure out how to deal with prison overcrowding, (and wholesale emptying of prisons isn't much different) and clogged courts, Wayne County and Detroit have empty cells.
The seventh floor of the Baird Detention Facility, normally home to 128 newly arrested prisoners, is vacant. So are the ninth floor and half of the 12th floor. Another 128 beds at the Dickerson Detention Facility in Hamtramck are also closed. That adds up to more than 400 empty beds in Wayne County jails that, up to about a year ago, were filled with roughly 2,500 prisoners.

The main explanation is simple, according to the county's top two law enforcement officials: Detroit police are making fewer arrests, a dereliction so obvious it has led some Detroiters to conclude there's no point in even calling the cops.
Whenever I think about the state of things in Detroit - it has been MANY years since I was actually there - I am reminded about Kipling's poem "The Gods of the Copybook Headings," and his take on the idea that you could get something for nothing.
In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "If you don't work you die."
It is worth reading the whole thing.

It isn't particularly optimistic, given where we find ourselves today. Here is how Kipling ended it.
As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool's bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

The Best Kept Secret In Sports: The IWFL

The Independent Women's Football League is real, full contact, tackle football. There are teams from all over the country. There is probably one near you. (The Tampa Bay Terminators are no more.) But a Google News search only shows 3 stories in the last week. The latest is about the Detroit Demolition losing to the Pittsburgh Passion. Passion whips Demolition again, 34-12

This is the 8th week of an 11 week schedule, which will of course be followed by playoffs and conference championship.

How Dare You Come Into Our Bar!

Gay Man Beaten At Warren County Bar Don't go to a straight bar in Warren County Ohio, not if you're gay.
Kelly Coffey says her friends, a mix of gay and straight people chose Tabby's to play sand volleyball - but were harassed by a man who continued to ask who in the group was gay and who wasn't & her brother finally answered. 'When he admitted that he was, they lost it, went crazy and started attacking my brother and pushing him out of the bar.'"
Apparently we can't all just get along.

Two people are under arrest, two more are being sought by police.
Ronnie Robertson's nose is broken, he has deep cuts and scratches around his eyes and cheeks.
And in case anyone is paying attention, Ohio's Hate Crime Law doesn't cover gays and lesbians, because people are never attacked just over their sexual orientation. Not in Ohio anyway. Or at least not that the powers-that-be care.

If you want to debate hate crimes laws, fine. I am not a fan of hate crimes laws. But once you have such laws...

Friday, May 29, 2009

This Should Curl O'Reilly's Hair

gay flagGay teen elected prom queen
(Los Angeles, California) An openly gay teen was voted prom queen at Los Angeles’ Fairfax High School in a campaign that began as a stunt but ended up spurring discussion on the campus about gender roles and teen popularity. Sergio Garcia, 18, was crowned queen Saturday night at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.
Heh

Oh, in case you were wondering, he was NOT wearing a dress.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Cop Stops Ambulance Transporting Patient to Hospital

So who has more claim on the right of way? An ambulance with lights and sirens or a cop with lights? EMT In Confrontation With Trooper Speaks Out What a freaking idiot.

You should note that the "trooper" was with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. Not state police. He had another idiot stop the ambulance, in order to give the driver a ticket. No regard for the person being transported to the hospital.

The guy who stopped the ambulance, was truly an idiot.
White says the officer was in a rage when he approached them and yelled "get your a-- back here! I am giving you a ticket for failure to yield." White says he told the trooper they had a patient in the ambulance and that they were on their way to the hospital.

"He ignored my statement, became even more belligerent, and demanded my partner come to his patrol car so he could write him a ticket," White says. "I calmly told the officer that we were transporting a patient and we could continue this at the hospital."

White says the trooper then approached him and shouted "you are under arrest for obstructing a police officer" and grabbed his arm to handcuff him. A brief struggle followed, at which point the trooper grabbed White by the throat. The cell phone captured this incident on video.
All the time, the patient in the back of the ambulance was not being transported to the hospital. All because a friggin idiot with a badge has to be able to throw his weight around.

Even if the guy driving the ambulance deserves a ticket - something I really doubt - write the ticket when the innocent civilian is in the hands of medical staff, not on the side of the road. [via Uncle]

An Interesting Way to Increase Revenue

Bill people - and start collection actions - who are not subscribers to your paper. Rose Parade: So angry at L.A. Times billing scam I could scream. Advice welcome. Also, they pulling this crap with anyone else? So you cancel you subscription to the local fish-wrapper. A year later you get an invoice, and then a call from a collection agency. You have gotten no fish wrappers however.

You call and try to clear things up. Nothing happens.

Time to complain to the government.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Some of Those Evil Speculators

The Associated Press: Judge denies motion to postpone Chrysler sale Obama (and his car czar) pushed the Chrysler deal through by painting the bond holders as eeeevil speculators who weren't in it for the country.

Turns out some of the people he threw under the bus were other union members.
The Indiana State Teachers Retirement Fund and Indiana State Police Pension Trust, along with the Indiana Major Moves Construction Fund, filed an objection to the proposed sale, saying the deal as currently structured gives preferential treatment to other stakeholders in the case while ignoring the needs of Chrysler's secured lenders.
That's OK. I am sure we will bail them out next.

They wanted to stand on there property rights. He didn't think their rights meant anything. Welcome to the future of America. Change I can't believe in.

... Or, Why is Oil So Damn Expensive?

What the average American knows about economics would fit on a postage stamp. They blame Big Oil for the spike in the price of gas, or the nebulous speculators. The truth is a bit more complicated. The Associated Press: Meltdown 101: Why is the dollar weakening?

So far this year, the dollar has fallen 10% since March. It actually gained late last year, as investors worried about every country, and bought dollars - mostly on reflex.
But as the months wore on and the Treasury Department continued to issue record amounts of government bonds into the market to finance its stimulus and bailout packages, the dollar has become less and less attractive to investors. The U.S. budget is expected to hit a record high of $1.84 trillion this year.

A poor economy and high debt weaken a country's currency because investors decide that they're better off buying bonds, stocks and other assets in countries with stronger economies and more stable debt. Stronger countries' assets — and, thus, the currencies those countries use to value their assets — are more likely to rise in value, and their debt is less likely to default.
So the price of oil: Some of the rise is attributable to an increase in demand. (Go count the trucks on the highway. The number is still down from last year, but up from December) But a part of it is due to the decline in the dollar. Each dollar buys a little bit less. Everything is a bit more expensive. And yes, some of it is the fault of those eeeeevil speculators. They are usually known as investors, and when did it become a bad thing to make a buck in the markets? Everyone was doing it - or trying to - in the late 90s. People are buying gold. Are they eeeevil speculators? Probably.

And some of those people hedging their bets against future high oil prices are airlines and trucking companies. Futures contracts do eventually come due. You do have to buy the oil if you said you would. (Options are another matter.)

The Market Could Fix Things if Government Got Out of the Way

US Apr Existing Home Sales Up 2.9% To 4.68 Mln Rate Lower costs of borrowing. Lower costs of homes. The market is finding a bottom.

Given that the bubble in housing prices was mostly a direct result of government mucking about with the market to ensure "everyone can have a home," expecting the government to fix it just seems crazy.

Now that some discipline is back in lending (and underwriting) I expect the market will equalize things in short order.

People Finally Figuring Out That They Need to Be Responsible

Economic collapse? Well, maybe. But every area of the country can be impacted by a disaster, and even if FEMA - a government bureaucracy - does everything right, there will be a minimum of three days where you are on your own. Crisis spurs spike in 'suburban survivalists'
Six months ago, Jim Wiseman didn't even have a spare nutrition bar in his kitchen cabinet.

Now, the 54-year-old businessman and father of five has a backup generator, a water filter, a grain mill and a 4-foot-tall pile of emergency food tucked in his home in the expensive San Diego suburb of La Jolla.

Wiseman isn't alone. Emergency supply retailers and military surplus stores nationwide have seen business boom in the past few months as an increasing number of Americans spooked by the economy rush to stock up on gear that was once the domain of hardcore survivalists.

These people snapping up everything from water purification tablets to thermal blankets shatter the survivalist stereotype: they are mostly urban professionals with mortgages, SUVs, solid jobs and a twinge of embarrassment about their newfound hobby.
There is a photo of the guns one of them own, but no mention of guns in the article.

Still, it is good to know that people are waking up to the fact that Katrina wasn't all that much of a fluke. Andrew was also a disaster and FEMA - under Clinton - also failed to get much done in a hurry. [via KABA]

Without Effective Means for Self-defense...

The old will be easy prey for the young and the violent. Two Charged With Beating Elderly Couple. Police are seeking a third person.
Police said the three men beat 70-year-old C.F. Ewing and his 68-year-old wife, Epsie Ewing, before stealing $117 from them. The men were meeting the Ewings under the pretense of buying their truck, police said.

Epsie Ewing is listed in critical condition at Atlanta Medical Center. Her husband has since been released from the hospital.
The wife suffered multiple fractures to her face and arms - a brutal attack.

Now there are no guarantees in this life. If the Ewings had a plan for their self-defense, they had no guarantee that it would work. But you have to have a plan.

You also have to have the means. Without a tool to equalize the field - like a firearm and appropriate training - an elderly couple is going to have a hard time defending themselves from three young, brutal thugs.

With all the attention that Craig's List has received in the past few weeks, everyone should know that people coming to your house, even in answer to an advert, are people you don't know, and therefore a potential threat.

The 2 bad guys are charged with robbery and aggravated assault. Hardly worth $117.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Falsely Arrest Kid to Extort Sex from the Mother

Cop indicted on sex, extortion charges Cops using their authority to commit crimes? I'm shocked - shocked! - to discover gambling extortion...
The indictment accuses Steele of crimes associated with May 14 allegations of coercing oral sex from the mother of a child Steele is accused of falsely arresting and locking up in the county's juvenile jail. The mother accused Steele of forcing her into the sex act as she tried to get her son out of the juvenile jail.

Steele, 46, of Springfield Township, was indicted for rape, sexual battery, extortion and intimidation in connection with the allegation involving the mother and with abduction and intimidation involving the arrest and jailing of her child.
He faces up to 70 years in prison.

"Innocent until proved guilty" and all that, but it doesn't surprise me if cops are stepping over the line and breaking the law.

And if he is guilty you have to ask, is this the first time it happened, or only the first time he got caught?

An Interesting Bit of Perspective

There has been so much attention paid in recent weeks to the H1N1 flu. And while the media is known to love a good story of catastrophe, there are more pressing issues in America. Domestic violence more deadly than flu
As of May 2, there have been 167 confirmed cases of the flu in the United States and one death. But there has been little news about the mass killings of 68 people across America in the last 52 days, with men doing all the killing and virtually all related to men with a history of violence against women.
There goes on to be a litany of death. Men killing ex-wives, ex-girlfriends and their children, mothers-in-law, the new-boyfriends, etc.

This is why I believe that anyone with a restraining order needs a concealed carry license, and enough training to do some good. The police cannot save you. They will only be called after something bad has begun.

While I don't like the "women as victim" tone of the article, it is clear that there is much to be done. Violence as a means of solving interpersonal disputes must be resisted. People need to let go, when a relationship ends, instead of killing everyone in sight.

I don't know what the solution is, I just know that it would be nice if it got even a little attention. But I know that it won't get any from the media. Something that happens all the time, isn't news.

Burglar Meets Armed Homeowner

Oklahoma City homeowner kills intruder So what would you do if you came home in the middle of the day to discover an intruder in your home?
One person is dead in south Oklahoma City where a homeowner says he found an intruder in his house and opened fire.
Burglary is very dangerous business where the homeowners are armed.

Preferential Treatment for a Brother Officer?

About 4 hours passed before cop got Breathalyzer :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES I'm not sure how much national coverage this story has been given, so let us begin at the beginning.

A Chicago cop was arrested in a hit-and-run accident.
About 1:30 a.m., witnesses saw Bolling's 2006 Dodge Charger traveling through the intersection of 81st and Ashland at a high rate of speed — striking Trenton as he rode his bicycle, authorities said.

Patrol officers arrested Bolling a few blocks away when they noticed he was driving the wrong way on a one-way street in the 1900 block of West 82nd Street, authorities said. The car sustained front-bumper damage and a shattered windshield. Inside the vehicle, officers found an open bottle of beer, according to the state's attorney's office.
Before the crash, he was in a bar for several hours.

But the disturbing thing is that he was held for 4 hours before he was given a Breathalyzer test. Either such a test was warranted by the circumstances, or it was not necessary because they found an open bottle in his car, but there are no circumstances where it would be necessary to administer such a test, but appropriate to wait 4 hours.
The tests on Chicago Police Officer Richard Bolling, 39, revealed a blood-alcohol level of .079, just shy of the .08 legal limit, according to the Cook County state's attorney's office.
I wonder what his blood alcohol level was at the time of the crash.

Then the authorities made sure to hold his arraignment before the victim's family or the media could be there.
Relatives of the teen, Trenton Booker, showed up for what they believed was a noon hearing for Bolling — making his first court appearance — only to learn it had happened an hour earlier.
The media was also not there.

When two sets of rules exist, one set for the police and the powers-that-be and another set for everyone else, you can be pretty sure you live in a police state.

Monday, May 25, 2009

You Don't Have to BE Gay, to Be Bashed

All that has to happen is that some bigot thinks you might be gay. Hate crime charges filed in Provincetown assault - The Boston Globe
Police say Eric L. Patten, 20, was intoxicated when he mistook two women as gay men while they stood outside the Post Office Cafe & Cabaret at 303 Commercial St. shortly after 1 a.m. Saturday. Patten yelled derogatory names for gays at them and then approached them, police said.
He assaulted one of them by slamming her head into a window, breaking the window.
In Orleans District Court tomorrow, he will face charges of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon (the window), assault and battery under the state's hate crime statute, disorderly conduct, wanton injury of property valued at more than $250, resisting arrest, and assault and battery on a police officer, whom he allegedly kicked and spat at.
He is free on bail.

You don't have to be gay to get bashed, you just have to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Women Are Finally Getting Serious About Self-defense

More Women Buying & Carrying Weapons In Ohio anyway, the number of women buying guns and getting concealed carry licenses is way up.
An unprecedented number of women are taking their protection into their own hands by getting a gun. Gun stores are seeing more women customers than anyone can remember.
They finally realize that the system won't rush to your defense. They show up after the fact and fill out a report. "Minority Report" was in fact a fictional story. The cops don't know about a crime before it is committed. [via NRA-ILA]

Saturday, May 23, 2009

It Seems Hope & Change™ Has Come to the FBI

Or at least to the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin This occasionally has an article interesting to non-LEO-types like myself, but the May 09 edition is one of those things that make you go - What. The. Fuck.

The whole thing is on Spirituality in Law Enforcement. With articles like Integrating Spirituality into Law Enforcement. Did someone appoint an ex-hippie to be editor of this thing?

I am sure they have valid points. The stress of being in law enforcement must be terrible, and I would guess some kind of spiritual connection might help. But this looks like it was put together by the UC Berkley Department of Criminal Justice. Just when I thought Washington couldn't get any crazier, this happens.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Somebody Needs a Dictionary

Either the reporter or the editor... Homeowner Shoots At Prowler
Officer say, the homeowner heard a sound at his back door. When he went to look, he saw a man in dark clothing trying to break into his home using a knife.
A "prowler," to me anyway, is someone creeping around your back yard. Someone actively trying to break in is at least a burglar, but more like a home invader.

One shot from a rifle sent this guy running like a rabbit. (He dropped his knife.) No blood, so police don't believe he was shot. Sounds like no clues.

Still, someone actively breaking into my home is a threat and will be dealt with accordingly. What would you do? Invite him in for tea?

San Francisco Still Hates Guns

NRA Comes to SF to Challenge Gun Law It appears that San Francisco has the same set of crazy requirements that DC had. Keep guns unusable.

But what has to really turn the stomachs of the gun-haters in SF is that one of the plaintiffs is a member of The Pink Pistols.
Plaintiffs include an officer of the San Francisco chapter of Pink Pistols, "an organization that represents the interests of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered firearms owners."

The NRA claims that requiring handguns to be rendered "inoperable at all times," makes it impossible for its members to use guns for self-defense, "particularly in urgent, life-threatening situations."
They also specifically prohibit the sale of self-defense ammo.

What a bunch of maroons.

(For information on Pink Pistols or to find a chapter near you follow this link. Pink Pistols does not discriminate, while it was started by the LGBT community, everyone is welcome. A lot of folks not comfortable with conservatives in the gun-owning community, may find a home with Pink Pistols.)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

There May or May Not Be a Meeting to Address Somalian Piracy

Hey, the Italians and the UN are on the job. The Somalis don't seem to know anything about it. Italy says to host meeting on Somali piracy | Reuters
ROME, May 20 (Reuters) - Italy said on Wednesday it would host a meeting in June with Somalia's government and opposition to discuss ways of stabilising the country and tackling piracy, but a Somali minister said he was not aware of such a meeting.
I mean why do the Europeans need to consult with the Somalis about stabilizing their country. Is this an Italian or a UN screw up? Because it is screwed up. Or FUBAR, might be the correct acronym.

And while I agree that something needs to be done to stabilize Somalia, something also needs to be done to cut off the multimillion dollar paydays the pirates are getting. And also stopping them today. Stabilizing Somalia - the UN has been working on this Clinton was in Office - isn't going to happen overnight. Piracy is a problem that needs to be addressed ASAP.

Democracy in Action

A teacher was fired for doing nothing wrong, so the town fired the entire school board. Calif. community ousts entire school board Say it again: The entire school board.
The student-led effort was launched after the board voted not to rehire a popular math teacher accused of committing plagiarism while in college, after the teacher was cleared of the charges.
Let me get this straight. He was accused. He was cleared. He was fired.

Yeah, they deserved to be canned.

Even as stupid as politicians are, this is beyond stupid, verging on criminal.

Even in Massachusetts, Self-defense is Legal

No Charges in Wilbraham Shooting A clear case of self-defense, and the People's Republic of Massachusetts only takes 2 weeks to decide. (Definitely NOT Boston.)
District Attorney William Bennett says condo owner Ronald Duval-- the first time he's been officially identified-- will not face criminal charges.

We're also learning that the intruder, David Gatti, grabbed a wine glass, broke, and used it to threaten the homeowner. Duval used his licensed handgun to try to persuade Gatti to leave, but when he started upstairs, where Duval's wife was taking a shower, he shot him in the leg. When Gatti kept going, he shot him in the chest, the fatal shot.
I was always taught center of mass. Some folks say "two to the chest, one to the head," but this stopped the threat.

This being Massachusetts we are subject to some weepy comments from the dead guys parents.
Gatti's parents showed up at the scene of the May 7th shooting and told police their son was depressed, delusional, and on medication.
Those comments have exactly no bearing on the situation. Maybe he shouldn't have been out running around, maybe he should have been confined were he wouldn't be threatening the law-abiding. It is a moot point now; he won't threaten anyone, ever again.

Self-defense is a human right, and it appears (as long as you jump through the correct hoops) it is your legal right, even in the People's Republic of MA.

Good Guys 1, Bad Guys 0.

But I Thought Everyone Liked Dear Leader

Jonathan Spyer's Analysis - Obama: An innocent abroad A pretty scathing review of Obama vis a vie realities in the Middle East.
There were those in Israel who suspected Obama of being a kind of wolf in sheep's clothing, preparing with a friendly smile to offer up Israel as a sacrifice to its regional enemies.

The picture emerging from the alleged details of his plan suggest a different, though not necessarily more comforting characterization: When it comes to the Middle East, Obama is an innocent abroad.
The following statement about his "plan" from Mid-East peace leaves me flabbergasted.
This state [Palestinian State of 2 State Accords] will be established within four years of the commencement of negotiations.
If we already know how the negotiation is going to end, why have them in the first place? Why not just issue the decree of how things will be and send in the Marines? (And the Dems accused Bush of setting up an empire.)
["The Plan"] has been formulated without reference to regional realities.

Currently, west of the Jordan River there are three political entities: Israel, the West Bank Palestinian Authority, and a Hamas-run, quasi-sovereign body in the Gaza Strip.
Entities 1 and 3 are in a state of war with each other.

Entity 2's existence is underwritten by entity 1, without which it would be devoured by entity 3.
The Obama plan, it would appear, simply fails to take into account the fact of Hamas-run Gaza's existence.
I mean be fair, why clutter the issue with facts?

Aside from ignoring the realities of today, he seems to want to try again what was tried before and failed. I suppose his near greatness will make them succeed. I mean, he must be great; he wrote two autobiographies before he was 45. (Or is that vain?)

Chicago's Daley: Trampling on First Amendment Rights No Big Deal

Daley: Alderman's order to paint over mural no big deal Welcome to the world of Chicago (and now Washington, D.C.) politics. The folks in charge will do whatever they want. The law - the Constitution - be damned. And if you call them on it they shrug and say get over yourself.

I'm pretty sure the guy who owns the building could sue for having his civil rights infringed. I almost wish he would.

Freedom of speech and freedom of expression mean being able to say things, or create art, that offends people - even the police, or the aldermen of Chicago. Else it isn't free. Not free in Chicago today.

Witness the beginning of the end of freedom in America.

Because Beating an Unconscious Man Who Was Ejected From Vehicle in Crash is What They Do

So this was not a nice guy. He nearly ran over an officer, and went on a 22 minute ride to try and escape. He crashed, was ejected from the vehicle (which rolled twice). He was then beaten. Caught on Tape: Officers Fired Over Beating of Unconscious Man - ABC News. I'm sorry, but beating a man who isn't moving a muscle, is lying face down, is a bit of a stretch for me.

Sort of like tasering a guy with a broken back because he won't move when you tell him too.

OK 22 minutes of heart-pumping adrenaline. If you can't control it, should you be on the force? The folks in charge didn't think so.

The incident in question happened in January of 2008, but everyone who saw it - and apparently a lot of cops did see it - kept their mouths shut. (Thin Blue Line? What thin blue line?)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Stupid Criminals Don't Realize Texans Are Armed

If you break into enough homes, you will eventually meet an armed homeowner. That will happen sooner in places like Texas. Harris County homeowner shoots robbery suspect in eye - Houston Chronicle.
In the second incident, at a home in the 11900 block of Madison Oak, three men kicked in the door before the homeowner shot one of them, Nelson said. A short while later, three men, one of them shot, arrived at Cy-Fair Hospital, where they were arrested.
No word on the injured guy's condition.

Good Guys 3, Bad Guys 0. Self-defense is a human right

What if You Have No Phone?

How do you follow the Left's advice to call 911 and do nothing else, if you don't have a phone? Robber cuts phone line, robs elderly woman in LaPorte home invasion He cut her phone line. When he confronted her, he broke her cell phone.

I think she is lucky to be uninjured.

In a classic case of disregarding your instincts, she ignored her only warning.
“I heard something on the side of my house. And that must have been when he was cutting the phone line,” she said.

But the woman dismissed the noise, thinking it must be the wind. A few minutes later, she heard the thief break down her kitchen door.
Don't disregard your instincts. You have them for a reason.

If she had picked up the phone to report a prowler, she would have been on the line with 911 when the door was kicked in.

I still think she would be better off pointing something like a loaded .357 magnum at the bedroom door while dialing 911, but that's me.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Suspected armed robber shot, killed at Oklahoma City pharmacy | NewsOK.com

Suspected armed robber shot, killed at Oklahoma City pharmacy | NewsOK.com Simple story.
The man, who police suspect was an armed robber, was shot and killed in the store by an employee, Oklahoma City police Sgt. Mike Klika said.
With a happy ending.

F-You Very Much

Popular culture and gay rights? Do you know the music your kids are listening to?

Lily Allen has wonderful little number called "Fuck You Very Much."

There is also The Big Fat Gay Collab! music video - after a fact - but I find it distracting.

Here are a few of the lyrics.
Look inside, look inside your tiny mind
Then look a bit harder
'Cause we're so uninspired, so sick and tired
Of all the hatred you harbor

So you say it's not okay to be gay
Well, I think you're just evil
You're just some racist who can't tie my laces
Your point of view is medieval

Fuck you, fuck you very, very much
'Cause we hate what you do
And we hate your whole crew
So please don't stay in touch
More lyrics are to be found at this link.

Via Brian Mustanski (at Psychology Today - The Sexual Continuum Blog) Via Victor at Stonewall Memorial via Twitter

Dr. Mustanski has some interesting observations.
Songs like this, I suspect, will become more common. I think they reflect the frustration youth are experiencing with this time of disconnect between growing acceptance of LGBT people and horrible cases of victimization and oppression. Youth led movements take advantage of new media, like the Internet and social networking sites.
Does that mean I'm all hip with the younger generations? Probably not. (Anybody who can remember working with punched cards, how to actually read and interpret assembly language, and can remember the internet before Mosaic is probably too much of a dinosaur.) (Oh, you probably don't even know what Mosaic was. It was the first web browser.)

40th Anniversary of Stonewall Riots

gay flagI guess I haven't been paying attention, but I just realized (thanks to a guy on Twitter) that this year will mark the 40th anniversary of riots resulting from police busting patrons of the Stonewall Inn, on June 27th, 1969.

I may have to make an effort to go to a Pride event this summer.

More Than 25-years Since Cell Phones Introduced - 911 Still Not Ready

What would you think if you dialed 911 and was on hold for 7 minutes? I would think 911 was a waste of time. What would you think of an emergency communication system that - after 25 years - still can't handle an incredibly important communication medium. I would wonder how serious people are about solving the problems. Atlanta 911 center comes under fire | ajc.com
• Atlanta aims to answer 911 calls within 10 seconds. But on May 9, its 911 center kept city officials believe was the first caller about the Dollar Mill Road fire on hold for seven minutes before that person finally hung up.

• Less than a minute after the first caller hung up, a city 911 operator picked up a call about the fire from a Cobb County operator. City officials say it’s possible a glitch in their 911 system routed the call to Cobb or that a cellphone tower bounced the call. Dollar Mill Road sits a short distance from the county line.
A whole lot of bad things can happen in 7 minutes. Add to that the 5 minutes and some seconds it took the fire department to respond and the house - this was a house fire - was a total loss.

And while this was fire emergency, it could have been a medical or police emergency. The moral of the story? Learn CPR, first aid, try to have a plan for your personal safety and keep a lot fire extinguishers on hand because you can't count on 911.

On the subject of cell phones. I read about cell phone and 911 problems on a regular basis. Usually I say nothing, because what can you say? As far as I can tell, every cell phone sold in the USA today (since 2005?) transmits GPS info with a 911 call. So how many years will it take for cities to make use of this? As someone said...
“This is Atlanta, Georgia. This is not some backwoods town in nowhere, USA,” said Martin, an attorney, who lives in College Park but had planned to move with her husband into the house on Dollar Mill Road. “There is absolutely no excuse for it.”
But that is what you get from bureaucracy; why should they change? After all, they won't lose their jobs for simply doing the same old thing.

Historical Note: Cell phones were introduced in the US in 1983. Government still says - not here but in other places - that you can't expect them to be able to handle this new-fangled gadgetry.

Monday, May 18, 2009

I Keep Thinking About Obama's Plea to Remain "Open-minded"

Funny, but I wonder if he would ask those on the Left to remain open minded about things.

Things like global warming climate change, or closing Gitmo, or keeping troops in Iraq, or ...

No, I didn't think he would.

As several of the talking heads have pointed out, if you are opposed to abortion, you believe it is the murder of innocents. How much compromise can you expect from people with that view? About as much as you can expect from anyone with dogmatic positions.

Not all disputes are amenable to compromise. If you ever take a negotiation class, the first thing you are taught is to determine your best alternative to negotiated solution. If I am selling a used car and I believe it is worth $2000 and you have only $1500 to spend, it possible we can compromise, but not guaranteed. If you believe in a religion that holds women are inferior to men, then there is no way we are going to be able to reach a compromise on any number of positions.

People who believe that you can always reach an agreement (the Left?) don't really believe in anything. If I am willing to draw a line in the sand, and you are willing to draw a line in the sand, then we can only agree if there is some overlap. Otherwise...

So is the plea to remain "open-minded" just a polite way of saying "get over yourself?" Or a plea to change your core beliefs? Like I said, only people who don't believe in anything...

I Can Hardly Wait for Socialized Medicine

Another super-bug outbreak at a UK hospital. C.difficile patients now reach 17 But don't worry the two people who died were described as "frail." (Actually I don't know why that should be reassuring.)
A total of 17 people have been infected with Clostridium difficile at a hospital in Moray.

NHS Grampian said that, of those, eight remained on the wards at Dr Gray's Hospital in Elgin.
This is one of the bugs that is nearly resistant to anti-biotic drugs.

C. diff seems to be a regular problem at UK's National Health Service hospitals. Given descriptions of the lack of basic cleanliness, I'm not surprised. (Hey, you're lucky to have free health care, even if it is killing you. You could have to pay for it like we do. </sarcasm>)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Nugent Speaks

Ted Nugent: Of life, liberty and NRA An article written while attending the NRA Convention in Phoenix.

You've gotta love Ted Nugent.
Self-defense is the most powerful, driving instinct in good people everywhere. To deny it is evil personified.

Good people don’t want the rapist to succeed. They want him dead. We don’t want our homes invaded. We want invaders dead.

We don’t like carjackers. We like them dead. We don’t like armed robbers. We like them dead.
And no, that isn't the best quote.

Colorado and Gay Rights

Colorado is (was?) the epicenter of a very well defined anti-gay movement, but even there change is coming. Colorado sidles up to civil unions - The Denver Post Employment protection, the ability of gays to adopt their partner's children, end-of-life decision-making, etc. Colorado is reflecting the change that's happening.

Take non-discrimination laws for example. Is it an attack on the sacred-right of employers to fire gays/lesbians to ensure job non-discrimination?
It hasn't generated a backlash or caused the sky to fall," [Pat Steadman, who represents Equal Rights Colorado] said.

"The average person in Colorado realizes that, by and large, their lives are completely unaffected by whether the worker next to them has job protections like every other worker."
The latest legislation has the Right in an uproar - of course.
House Bill 1266, which passed the 2009 legislature, also gives unwed couples a quick and inexpensive way to give a partner the power to make end-of-life decisions, ensure that a dependent partner receives wrongful death and insurance benefits and a host of other estate-planning rights. Both critics and advocates liken the legislation to civil unions.
Almost all of New England has gay marriage, as does Iowa. Consider what happened to a bigot in the Colorado Senate.
When Sen. Scott Renfroe, R-Greeley, earlier this year used a Bible verse to liken homosexuals to murderers and noted the biblical punishment was death, the backlash was swift. Renfroe apologized shortly after.
Hate is not a family value. If change can come to Colorado, where will it be next?

I Think They Should Charge Him With Destroying Evidence

It's a jungle out there - would-be robber slips up He tried hold up a store using a banana. But when he held the banana under his shirt and demanded money, the clerk and a customer grabbed him, and held him in a chair until police arrived.

He ate the banana.
"And the deputy said, ‘Aha! He ate the evidence,'" Mabe said. "But we had the banana peel, and they took a picture of it."

John Steven Szwalla, 17, of 340 Yukon Trail, Wallburg, was charged with one count of attempted armed robbery.
Good Guys 1, Bad Guys 0.

Cowboy Action Shooting Has Been Getting Some Good Press

Regulators bring Old West flavor to sport I hadn't done a news search on Cowboy Action Shooting in some time, so I was a bit surprised at how much good press there is.

I must confess I don't shoot Cowboy Action, only because I haven't invested in the paraphernalia and the guns. (And were I am in Florida, it is quite a drive to get to the matches. Were I get exiled to the Midwest also has some problems given the completely insane gun laws in Illinois.) But I have been to a number of matches. The Single Action Shooting Society always looks like they are having the very best time.

Anyway, this article is pretty typical of what I saw. A description of people having friendly competition and a lot of fun. It details how this particular local group got started, how it has grown, and the charity that they raise money for ($60K to $90K per year).

It begins with an overview of Cowboy Action Shooting.
CARLSBAD — Vintage firearms, authentic period costuming, unique targets and an Old West storefront town make for an interesting sport called Cowboy Action Shooting.

Cowboy Action Shooting is a multifaceted shooting sport in which contestants compete with firearms typical of those used in the taming of the Old West. The firearms are single action revolvers, lever action rifles and side-by-side double barreled, pre-1899 pump- or lever-action shotguns.
It covers the weapons used, the period costumes and the stages. (The didn't talk about the food. It seems like every Cowboy event I ever attended had great food.)

Now, I don't expect this kind of thing to make it into the mainstream press, but it is nice to see the information out there.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Quote of the Day (The More Things Change...)

Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you.
--Pericles (430 B.C.)

Cops Don't Like Your Views, You Get a Ticket

Cops take fight to wake - BostonHerald.com OK, you want to do political lobbying at a wake, that's fine with me. I think it is in poor taste, but I think most of society today is in poor taste.

But ticketing politicos because you don't like how they vote, even if they parked legally crosses some line somewhere. Even if the cops don't see it.
A Boston police captain apologized to state senators yesterday for Boston police officer John Mullan’s Wednesday afternoon ticketing spree. Mullan slapped orange surprises on 15 cars around the State House, many of which were legally parked, just hours after senators filed a budget eliminating state funding for the Quinn Bill.
That's a bill that gives higher education perks to police. The state apparently is trying to balance the budget.

This is not a Constitutionally-protected form of free speech. It is breaking the law. The police say "don't worry" - internal affairs is on the case.

That attitude of "I'll show them" is probably not limited to just one of "Boston's Finest." I just like to think that most cops are smart enough not to sign their names to something this blatant. Which only means that I think they will probably do something sneakier.

An anti-gunner needs a smack-down

A gun-grabber needs a few comments. Keep it clean and sane.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Chicago Removing Art that Offends the Police

City Room™ - Metro - Alderman Destroys Public Art A mural painted on private property. The police believed it contained an anti-police message. The city painted over it.
11th ward alderman James Balcer says he called in the graffiti blasters because the owner of the building never got a permit for the mural.
But of course even in Chicago you don't need a permit for artwork - as long as it isn't commercial in nature.
But a spokesperson for the city's law department says there's no permit necessary for a mural on the side of a private building as long as it's not an advertisement and as long as the property owner has given their permission.
(Signs need a permit.)

Good bye 1st Amendment. Hello police state. You can't express yourself if the government doesn't like what you have to say. Welcome to the police state.

Note: I'm filing this under Cops Behaving Badly, even though it is really the rest of government tramping on freedom of expression.

The International Competition You Probably Aren't Following

The Volvo Ocean Race gets ready for leg 7, from Boston to Galway, Ireland - 2500 miles across the North Atlantic. Sail-World.com : Ericsson 4 skipper warns not to under estimate leg 7 Volvo Ocean Race They leave one team's hometown (Puma is - sort of - based in Boston, or at least has a lot ties to the city) and head to another. Galway, as the Irish port in the race is home to the Irish contingent of Green Dragon.

The leader board can be found at this link. (Ericsson 4 is winning currently. Puma is in 3rd place, Green Dragon in 5th.)

You can find some video at this link.

The Soulless Suburban Existence - We Can't Afford It

Suburban Housing Markets Are Unsustainable - Part 1 and Part 2 They are definitely worth your time. (And not just for "The Jesus of Suburbia" lyrics from Green Day!)

The housing markets didn't end up in their current state by magic. They got here one step at a time - through government policy, corporate stupidity, and individual homeowner's greed.

Things have changed in the housing market.

Houses have gotten bigger since the 50s and 60s. More square feet. More rooms. Bigger kitchens. Less equity. No reality. But Quin says it best.
The lies we’ve been told by government, corporate America, and the media are no worse than the lies we’ve told ourselves. We have tripled the size of our houses, and reduced the sense of community in our nation. Many have perfectly manicured lawns, polished appliances, 12 spotless rooms and dysfunctional, aloof, joyless lives. A McMansion, stainless steel appliances, 6 flat screens, and granite countertops do not guarantee happiness. When all of these items are bought on credit, you have a tragedy.
Did we really think the American dream was to be drowning in mortgage debt?

I have said this before, and when I say it to people in person, there is always someone to argue with me. Your primary residence should not be considered an "investment." I use quotes, because in accounting there are assets and liabilities, and while assets are usually thought of as investments, your primary residence is rarely anything but a liability. Unless you run a home-business, or generate income in other ways, it is a liability. If you lose your job, it is a millstone around your neck. (Realtors love to argue this point... I wonder why...)

But back to soulless suburbia. Most people recognize that it's soulless. (Wasn't that Leo DeCaprio/Kate Winslet movie all about that?) But we don't seem to know what else to do. Buying things is what we do. It is how we show status.
The Baby Boom Generation, as usual, has driven the Supersizing of America. The bigger and gaudier your home, the more successful you appear. Nothing tells the world you’re a winner more than living in an 11,000 square foot McMansion with a Hummer (with a save the environment license plate) and a BMW (with a yellow support the troops ribbon on the back, even though there are no troops from their exclusive neighborhood in the war) in the driveway. The Boomers have chosen a lifestyle built on luxury, gadgets, and home equity.
They built a lifestyle on foundation of sand.

But this is more than just an attack on boomers. It explains pretty clearly how we got here, how we are doing the same things the Japanese did when their housing bubble burst, and what the next stage of the housing melt-down is likely to look like. (No, it isn't over yet.) How home equity was the drug of choice, how Realtors and Pundits told us comfortable lies, and why a lot of people believed them. A new home's value could only go up, in this world. Flipping houses with no experience, and no knowledge of simple home improvement techniques seemed reasonable.If you listened to the Realtors, it seemed reasonable, anyway.
Below are some of [National Association of Realtors' mouthpiece David] Lereah’s best lines. As an aside, existing home sales have plunged 30% and prices have declined 25% since he spoke these words:

"The level of home sales activity is now at a sustainable level, and is likely to pick up a bit in the months ahead." – January 2006

"This is additional evidence that we're experiencing a soft landing." – April 2006

"We expect sales activity to pick up early next year." – October 2006
How many Realtors parroted these comforting reassuring lines, and how many people bought houses because the salesman said it was a good idea?

And if you weren't buying a new house you were taking money out of your home in the form of home equity loans, or refinancing or whatever, to the tune of 4 trillion dollars between 2001 and 2007. This provided an artificial boost to the GDP during those years.

Anyway, go take a look. The charts alone are worth it. And figure out what is important in life aside from owning stuff.

And don't be denial. If you own a home, its value has fallen sharply. (But that is - literally - another story.)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I Wonder if This Would Work in the US

In the UK, it is possible to sue the police for not doing their job. Family of murdered woman to sue police and CPS 'for failing to protect her from abusive husband' | Mail Online CPS is the Crown Prosecution Service for you non-Anglophile types.
Police had previously arrested [the husband] twice and ordered him to stay away from his wife, but no charge had been brought against the 36-year-old prior to the fatal attack.
His first day in court was a murder trial. He was convicted. Cold comfort to her family.

I suppose since the UK severely limits your right to defend yourself, trying to force some action from the police makes sense. But this is the worst of all worlds: you can't defend yourself, police do nothing to protect you. (Or next to nothing.)

The “Criminal Justice System” is More Criminal, than Concerned with Justice

JusticeFederal prosecutor admits mistake, begs for leniency When you reward people for convictions, that's what you get, even if they trample on the Constitution to get there.
A federal prosecutor today acknowledged that she withheld evidence that could have helped clear a defendant in a gun case but said it was an inadvertent mistake and implored the chief judge of the US District Court in Massachusetts not to impose sanctions that could derail her career.
This isn't the case of one cop prosecutor having a bad day; it is a systemic problem.
But Judge Mark L. Wolf said he was considering several sanctions because he was so appalled by Sullivan's lapse and by what he characterized as a pattern of prosecutors in the US attorney's office withholding evidence.
Apparently the Boston office has a history of sweeping things under the rug, if those things might help the defense.

Justice is blind, implying that the courts don't always get things right. But justice should not be holding her thumb down on one of the scales to favor conviction.

Test Your Presidential Knowledge

This is one tough quiz. Presidents quiz -- chicagotribune.com

“The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated”

Power Line, comments on the many reports of the end of the GOP. GOP, RIP? So how are the people viewing the Democrats after 100 (plus) days? Not so good.
Actually, since [November] our news media have studiously averted their eyes from the main change in voters' perceptions of the parties--a growing sense of dismay at the havoc Democrats are wreaking in Washington.

This proposition is well illustrated by this chart, prepared on the basis of Rasmussen surveys between October 2008 and May 2009 by Yuval Levin at the Corner.
The table in Levin's article follows:
 October 2008May 2009 
IssueDemGOPDiffDemGOPDiffCumulative Shift
Economy51%38%1344%43%1 (12)
Govt Ethics40%30%1040%29%11 1
National Sec.47%44%341%48%(7)(10)
Education53%34%1949%36%13 (6)
Healthcare54%34%2053%35%18 (2)
Taxes47%42%541%47%(6)(11)
Iraq47%42%541%43%(2)(7)
Social Security49%37%1248%39%9(3)
Abortion47%38%941%41%-(9)
Immigration40%38%236%37%(1)(3)

For the most part these are statistically significant changes.

Piracy - A Growth Industry

Pirate attacks pass 2008 mark - Middle East Times When they can expect multi-million dollar paydays for successful hijackings, it isn't hard to see why the numbers are increasing.

There were a 111 attacks in and around Somalia in all of 2008. So far, with less than half the year gone, there have been 114 attacks - 29 successful hijackings.

All those warships in Combined Task Force 151 haven't had a great deal of impact on the situation. And with Europe and Canada continuing the catch and release policy, why should anyone think it will change?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

People Need to Get More Target Practice

Too many people are missing the bad guys. Detroit woman fires shots through window at would-be intruders | Detroit Free Press A neighbor sees burglars entering a home, and he calls the homeowner on a cell phone. He wasn't at home, so he called his wife. She got the gun, and went to investigate.
Hearing footsteps on the stairs, she fired a number of shots, missing the thieves. The husband arrived home just as the men were climbing back out of the window, and they escaped.
These guys got off lucky. Apparently they didn't get injured.

Self-defense is a human right.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I Can't Believe I Am Still Seeing These Stories

It is a freaking beauty contest people. It means less than who won the Little League World Series. It means less than who will be the guest of honor at the next ComicCon. And still it is in the news, and in a big way too. New Racy Photos of Carrie Prejean Surface Hours Before Meeting With Donald Trump

I'm glad she kept her job. She holds an opinion that a lot of people hold. What I don't understand is why anyone cares what she thinks about anything. Or Perez Hilton either. It. Is. A. Beauty Contest. Get a freakin' grip.

I Thought Cooperation Was Supposed to Guarantee Safety

Robbery victim shoots robber Apparently this violent criminal didn't get the memo on becoming non-violent when confronted by a sheep.
According to police, Craig Budde, 51, of Arthur Street, Hazleton, said he accompanied Dunn to 41 Pine St. at about 8:10 a.m. when Kuren confronted him, armed with a metal pipe. Kuren demanded Budde’s money, and Budde gave it to him.

Kuren then raised the pipe he was holding and approached Budde in a threatening manner. Budde produced a pistol and fired a round, striking Kuren in the foot.
I wouldn't have shot him in the foot.

Police arrested two people.

The Left loves to say people with concealed carry licenses are trigger happy. Really?
“When they tried to rob me, I thought, ‘Give him the money and call the police later,’” Budde explained. “When he came at me again, I thought, ‘I can’t fight him. I’m 51 years old, I’m disabled, I don’t have the strength to run’,” Budde said.

“I am just a citizen, minding my own business, doing nothing wrong,” he said. “I was within my rights.”
Self-defense is a human right, and in some parts of the country, it is your legal right as well.

Good Guys 2, Bad Guys 0.

“I wasn't going to be his victim”

Homeowner opens fire on burglary suspects | Indianapolis A woman after my own heart. What would you do if you discovered a strange man breaking into your home?
"I did what I had to do not only to protect myself but to protect my home because I didn't know whether or not - hey, are you coming here to rob me, are you coming here to rape and beat or kill me and I'm not going to stop and ask you questions as to, hey, dude, what's your intent," she said. "My dad always said, 'If you feel threatened, you put a bullet in them.'"
What else would you do?

She missed the guy. The shot went inches away from him, and he fell back out of the window.

Her house was burglarized in December, so she knew there was risk.
So Monday, she was ready, with the weapon she's had for almost a decade.
"It needs to send a message. If you go into someone's home, be prepared for whatever consequences there might be," Danielle said. "If I had to do it all over again, I would make sure I had better practice."
Self-defense is a human right.

“How Dare You Live Without Me!” - International Division

That seems to be the attitude of all too many obsessed people. Get in tune with the meaning of "It's over!" Jealous husband jailed for double killing
On the evening of December 22 2008, [the ex-husband] let himself into her Central Drive flat with a set of keys and hid in a cupboard under the stairs.

He emerged in the early hours of the morning when Mr McLoughlin [the new boyfriend -?- the relationship is not defined in the article] had left the property to get a cigarette lighter and bound and gagged Mrs Cox in the lounge. When Mr McLoughlin returned, he stabbed him 24 times before stabbing his wife in the throat. She received 15 stab wounds.
He then turned himself in and admitted to the crime.

People get bent out of shape because someone dumped them/left them/divorced them. The end is the most dangerous time.
Mrs Cox had suffered years of domestic abuse at the hands of her husband prior to separating from him two weeks before the incident.
This kind of thing happens all too often.

(Obligatory 2nd Amendment Slant:) Good thing the anti-gun laws in England are so effective; someone might have been shot.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Self-defense Works - International Division

Good Guys 4; Bad Guys 0. Two shot in botched PTA robbery They suffered a failure of the victim selection process.
Four robbers, two armed with firearms, approached a 35-year-old man walking in the street with his wife on Friday night, said spokesman Inspector Matthew Nkoadi.

"One robber pointed a firearm at him, attempting to rob them, and he in turn pulled his own licensed firearm and shot two of them, one in buttocks and one in the cheek. All four ran away," said Nkoadi.
The 4 were arrested at a local hospital were 2 of the would-be thieves were being treated for gunshot wounds.

Even when the bad guys have the advantage, self-defense can still work to your advantage. There are no guarantees of course. Having a plan for your personal defense does not make you invincible, but it can alter the odds in your favor.

Self-defense is a human right.

Don't Bring a Knife to a Gunfight

Homeowner shoots man in self defense If the investigation shows that events transpired as they are reported, then this was self-defense.

A stranger is a guest-of-a-guest at a barbecue. That person then becomes violent.
According to [the homeowner, Dieter] Meyer, the stranger became belligerent, pulled out a knife and threatened Meyer's girlfriend on the front steps of his home. Meyer said he was frightened for both his and his girlfriend's welfare.

Meyer, who holds a concealed weapons permit and always carries his gun, grabbed it and fired several shots at the man.
Self-defense is a human right.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Are You Prepared for TEOTWAWKI?

(That's The End Of The World As We Know It) The non-survivalist’s guide to stocking up for hard times | Grist Something we should all think about.
As a resident of South Mississippi, I think it is officially time to stock my swine flu/tornado/hurricane/foreign invasion pantry. How do I do this without filling it with a bunch of processed crap, but still manage to stock away flavorful and nutritious staples?
Every section of the country can be subject to a regional disaster. Based on the history of FEMA (Andrew and Katrina in particular) it will be AT LEAST 3 days before the .gov can provide you with water, let alone anything else.

I am always surprised - living in Florida - that when a hurricane warning is issued people descend en masse on the grocery store to buy canned goods and bottled water. (Not to mention the Big Box stores to buy plywood for windows.) Hurricane season starts very soon.

1. Canned goods last a long time - buy them at the beginning of the season. And you don't have to limit yourself to canned goods. As this article mentions, rice and beans keep a long time. Couscous and Bulgar wheat do too.

2. I have two, five-gallon Jerry cans for potable water. (I also have 40 gallons of water in the boats tanks but that is another story.) Tap water won't kill you if you have to drink it in an emergency.

And don't limit yourself to canned goods available only at your local store. They aren't your best bets. There are companies that cater to the Amish (or supplied by the Amish) that can meat. You can find these via the web - search for canned meat. They have much higher quality than I can find locally. The problem is finding small enough portions - some of the cans will feed a large family. The quality is high enough, I don't mind cooking with when I have to rotate stocks. I use Werling and Sons, because they will sell me portions I like, and food I like.

You can find canned bread in the baked bean section of you store. (Swear to God.)

You probably have 40 gallons of potable water in your water heater. Getting to it might be a problem.

For lighting/cooking etc. make sure you have gas/charcoal/whatever for you grill. Do you have camping supplies? Also check out this link for other goodies along these lines. (Will your house be habitable?)

Consider that you may have to drive, or walk, out of the disaster zone. (Have you seen the photos of highways during an evacuation? Is there a better way?) Backpack. Good shoes.

So are you ready?

Friday, May 08, 2009

Self-defense is Legal in Ohio

Pizza Shop Owner Will Not Be Charged In Fatal Shooting It took Akron Police a little more than a month to come to that conclusion.
Last month, Patrick Finney, 20, pointed a shotgun inside Your Pizza Shop on West Exchange.

Hayes, who has a concealed carry permit, shot Finney seven times.
No charges will be filed against Mr. Hayes.

Self-defense is a human right.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

On the Subject of Restraining Orders...

Estranged husband arrested in Lawrence woman's murder She got a restraining order on April 3rd of this year. Five weeks later, she is dead. Her children - some minors - will bear the burden of her absence.
A police department chaplain also responded to help console her four children, ages 11, 15, 17 and 18. Yang also had a child away in college and another in the military.
She appears to have been a victim of the "How dare you live without me," attitude.

Restraining orders are interesting legal documents, but they won't stop someone bent on violence. If you think you need a restraining order, you probably also need a plan for your personal (and family's) protection. This kind of thing happens all too often.

So You Think “The System” Will Protect You

Belittling by judge caught on tape A woman is filing for a protective order (restraining order) against her abusive husband. The husband has admitted to the particulars of the case. The judge denies the petition. And then encouraged child abuse.
Ellender also congratulated the woman's husband after learning that he had threatened to make his 2-year-old daughter's "booty bleed" if she didn't behave during a family meal at a Subway franchise.
He was hauled in front of the State Supreme Court (2nd time - more on this later). His defense? "He had a bad day." Cry me a river.

That previous censure?
In the previous case, Ellender was sanctioned because he wore a Halloween costume in which he dressed as an inmate, complete with an orange jumpsuit borrowed from the local sheriff, handcuffs, an Afro-type wig and black makeup.
Real classy.

Aside from the "I had a bad day" excuse, he had - via his son, who is representing him - a list of excuses.
"He had a bad day," said his son, who noted that his father apologized to the commission for his remarks. "He didn't have his hearing aids in. He was rude, hurried, nothing to be proud of. But he was not out of control."
In what universe is congratulating a father for being willing to beat a 2-year-old child "bloody" not being out of control?

The woman who filed the petition?
"I understand now why women don't go to court," she wrote. "That judge treated me just like my husband does. He gave my husband permission to abuse his wife and children."
So the next time that someone tells you "The System" will protect you, that you can rely on the cops or the courts for protection, think again.

Of course even if he issued a restraining order, it is unlikely the police would do much - could do much - to enforce it. (See the list of stories at the Domestic Violence link.) Restraining orders are interesting legal documents, not bullet-proof vests. But you should be able to get one if you need one. (If nothing else it will be evidence at the self-defense-shooting inquiry.)

The Wheels of Justice May be Catching Up With Drew Peterson

Former Bolingbrook Police Sergeant Drew Peterson Arrested In Connection With Kathleen Savio Murder - cbs2chicago.com This is one of those cases that makes me want to spit. But first the news, then the rant.
Peterson will likely be charged in the death of Kathleen Savio, who was found dead in a dry bathtub in her home on March 1, 2004. Her death was originally ruled an accident, but was reclassified as a homicide after her body was exhumed for a new autopsy, following the disappearance of Peterson's fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, in October 2007.
The rant is about the way the Bolingbrook police force treated this guy during his third marriage. His wife, Kathleen Savio, filed for an order of protection. (Which would have stripped his guns and probably kept him from working.) She went to the emergency room as the result of beatings administered by this guy. The local police were at her home numerous times, but somehow, they never managed to file any paperwork against their brother officer, police sergeant, Drew Peterson. I wonder why that was.

If there was truly to be justice in this case, everyone one of the Bolingbrook police officers who knew what was going on and did nothing, refusing even to file paperwork for a domestic violence incident - until the abuser (or so it seems) escalated to the point where he murdered his wife - every one of those officers would face some kind of punishment. But that will never happen. Maybe they feel some guilt today, but I even doubt that. They were protecting their brotherhood, and damn the little people.

And of course the disappearance of his fourth wife, Stacy, is still under investigation.

Now That's What You Call Ironic

Eco-sailors rescued by oil tanker You can tell that they did little research about what conditions were likely to be this time of year.
An expedition team which set sail from Plymouth on a 5,000-mile carbon emission-free trip to Greenland have been rescued by an oil tanker.
Most sane sailors stay out of the North Atlantic until June, few go that far north, most are heading West to East.

By the time the oil tanker got to the sailboat, the worst was over.
The transfer from the Fleur to Overseas Yellowstone was achieved in 42mph (67km/h) winds.
36 knots is fair amount of wind. The last time I was out in those kinds of conditions, I really had to reduce sail, but I didn't have to issue a mayday. (Since my engine had died the day before, I did call for a tow to get back to the dock.) And yes I was tired and cold. And that was in Florida, not the North Atlantic.

And actually the 1 British sailor in the marina (or the only one I knew) decided that 35 knots of wind was "just like home" and actually went out for the day. So what these "eco-sailors" were trying to do, aside from stage a publicity stunt, I don't know.

Most people sailing east-to-west from England, leave in November, head south to the Canaries, and then catch the trades across the Atlantic to the Windward Islands in the Caribbean. That is known as the Milk Run. But hey, so many people are doing that every year (2 or 3000 boats, the last time I checked) it would be hard to make a publicity splash. [via Lumberjack]

Update: If you want real view of "carbon-free" sailing, check out Lin and Larry Pardey. They have been around the world (twice? maybe 3 times now) on boats that have no engine. Of course they use kerosene for cooking and heat, so they aren't quite carbon free. I wonder how those "eco-sailors" were cooking food.

Government Motors Still Hemorrhaging Money

GM posts loss; burns through $10 billion No one who believes in capitalism should ever buy another vehicle from GM. They are owned by the government.
Under the restructuring plan GM detailed last month, the government would own a majority stake, effectively nationalizing the 100-year-old Detroit-based automaker.
So, do you think socialism is a good idea?

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Good Guys 2, Bad Guys 0

Schriever homeowner shoots and kills burglar, deputies say Another failure of the victim selection process. These guys decided to do a little breaking and entering when the property owners were home. Armed property owners, that is.
The homeowner and his brother, who police have refused to identify, live on the same property in separate homes, said Maj. Brent Hidalgo of the Sheriff’s Office. The homeowner’s brother called his sibling Tuesday night when he saw two men walking around the property.

When the homeowner arrived, he noticed a garage window was damaged and a motion-sensor light inside was on, deputies said.
When they opened the garage door, they were threatened with a handgun. The guy doing the threatening ended up dead.
[The soon-to-be-dead-guy] brandished a gun at the men and the homeowner’s brother fired two shots, one of which struck [the thief] in the torso.
The other goblin was detained - at gunpoint - until police arrived and arrested him for aggravated burglary.

If you break into enough homes, eventually, you find an armed homeowner. If you are really unlucky, that will happen the first time you step over that line.

Self-defense is a human right.

Gay Marriage in Russia

Lesbians to attempt first gay marriage in Russia | Reuters They will be refused a license, but it is the first step.
Gay rights activist Nikolai Alekseyev said it was the first time a gay couple would apply for a license.

"I am 99 percent sure there will be a refusal, but maybe later the situation in Russia can change, the political feeling can change," he told Reuters on Wednesday.

The pair will most likely legally marry in the coming months in Toronto, or Norway, he added. Neither country requires residency for gay couples wishing to marry.
Interesting times.

More Gay Marriage

Maine becomes 5th state to approve gay marriage - USATODAY.com I heard this on the radio today while I was out. So I am sure the response to this is all over the blogosphere already, but at least I didn't publish the post I had nearly ready this morning - about the Maine House passing the measure.

The New Hampshire assembly is now also debating the issue. It seems they may actually have a law today - if you can believe USA Today.

In Washington, the D.C. Council Votes to Recognize Same-Sex Marriages Performed Elsewhere. This caused quite a commotion. The measure passed 12 to 1, with Marion Barry casting the dissenting vote. Council member David A. Catania (an Independent) said Barry had taken a "bigoted" position.
After the vote, enraged African American ministers stormed the hallway outside the council chambers and vowed that they will work to oust the members who supported the bill, which was sponsored by Phil Mendelson (D-At Large). They caused such an uproar that security officers and D.C. police were called in to clear the hallway.
D.C.'s mayor, Democrat Adrian M. Fenty, will sign the measure. Marion Barry predicted a civil-war over the issue.
Barry, who said he supports gay rights and civil unions, warned after the vote that the District could erupt if the council does not proceed slowly on same-sex marriage.

"All hell is going to break lose," Barry said. "We may have a civil war. The black community is just adamant against this."
He supports it, but not enough to vote in support of it.... Exactly how much slower could D.C. move? They are voting to recognize legal unions performed elsewhere, not conduct gay marriages in the District. Any slower and they wouldn't do anything, but maybe that is what he really thinks should happen.

The GOP - predictably - will try to stop the measure from becoming law in D.C.

Armed College Student Stops Home Invasion

College Student Shoots, Kills Home Invader So where are all the people who love to say that we should disarm college students? Who claim they can't be trusted? Yeah, I couldn't find them either.
[Student Charles] Bailey said he thought it was the end of his life and the lives of the 10 people inside his apartment for a birthday party after two masked men with guns burst in through a patio door.

“They just came in and separated the men from the women and said, ‘Give me your wallets and cell phones,’” said George Williams of the College Park Police Department.

Bailey said the gunmen started counting bullets. “The other guy asked how many (bullets) he had. He said he had enough,” said Bailey.
That's when the student grabbed a gun and started shooting. That first bad guy ran away.

They had separated the men from the women - apparently to rape the women.
The student then ran to the room where the second gunman, identified by police as 23-year-old Calvin Lavant, was holding the women.

“Apparently the guy was getting ready to rape his girlfriend. So he told the girls to get down and he started shooting. The guy jumped out of the window,” said Bailey.
Police found one dead guy nearby. They expect to pick up the 2nd guy shortly. One woman was injured in crossfire, but is expected to make a full recovery.

It is sad that most American students have been trained to be sheep their whole lives. It is a good thing that one of them was prepared to defend himself. Without this one guy, there would very likely be a lot dead, and raped-and-dead students in Georgia.

Oh, and as Tam points out, isn't it funny that this college-campus-related shooting isn't getting as much press as they usually seem to get? Couldn't be media bias, now, could it?

Self-defense is a human right, and it seems pretty clear that it saved lives.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Two Conflicting Messages from the Right

Why Republicans Are in Trouble, Chapter 748 On the one hand, they favor local choices.
Sen. Jim DeMint, writing in the WSJ, makes a strong case for letting different states make different policy choices. "Centralized government infringes on individual liberty and...problems are best solved by the people or the government closest to them." If "choices look different in South Carolina, Maine and California," why, that's just fine.
Sounds good. Too bad he doesn't really mean it.
Except when it's not. DeMint, of course, favors a national ban on same-sex marriage. No word from the Senator on how he squares the circle. We're waiting.
Right doesn't like the federal government to interfere, except of course when they want the federal government to interfere.

Tolerance? Only for intolerance.
Here's what else has Republicans looking toxic to young people and moderates: one of their leading national spokespeople, Joe the Plumber, calls gays "queer" and says he would not let them "anywhere near" his children. Lots of Republicans will be wincing privately at this almost refreshingly direct expression of bigotry, but let's see how many repudiate Joe Wurzelbacher publicly.
It will be a long time before Republicans win national election, unless something epic happens, like another major terrorist attack. I wonder if the Republicans will start hoping for something bad to happen - they way they used to try and paint the Democrats.

The truth is there is almost no difference between the Republicans and Democrats. They both want more control over everyone's life. They only differ about what controls they want in place.

A Nation of Drug Addicts

Mental-Health Drug Usage Rises - WSJ.com I suppose because they are legal drugs, everyone is cool with this.
Mental-health drug prescriptions for U.S. adults increased 73% and those for children rose 50% over the 10-year period, according to the new data. In 2006, one in 10 adults and one in 20 children reported having a prescription for a mental-health drug, the research said.
"The truth is, there is something very wrong with this country."

I suppose that A Brave New World is no longer required reading.

Smoked Goblin? Aisle 5

Police Say Suspected Robber Killed By Store Worker Crime doesn't pay when the good guys are armed.
Mobile Police said a store employee shot and killed a man who tried to rob his business.
They also charged another man in the robbery.
As Massad Ayoob would say, they suffered a failure of the victim selection process.

The guy they arrested is charged with first degree robbery.

Good Guys 2: Bad Guys 0.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Pirates Hijack Ship - NATO Continues Catch and Release

Somali Pirates Hijack Two Cargo Ships Just on Saturday two ships were hijacked. Of course why not. Mostly you get a slap on the wrist and get sent to your room (probably fed dinner too).
The reports of hijacking were received hours after a Portuguese frigate released 19 Somali pirates who were detained during a foiled attack on a Norwegian oil tanker in the Gulf of Aden, according to North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

A Portuguese warship, the Corte-Real, serving as part of NATO's anti-piracy mission, responded to the duress call from the Norwegian vessel and foiled the attack and captured the pirates onboard.

The NATO officers reportedly found high explosives and hand grenade launchers on the pirates' mother ship.
So yeah, I expect piracy to get a lot worse given the relatively low level risk.

In other news, the US Navy turned over control of Task Force 151 (the international flotilla trying to combat piracy in Somalia and surrounding waters) to the Turkish Navy. I have no idea what this means. Some hope there might be better international cooperation comes from the past US commander. (It couldn't be that all those seamen had trouble taking orders from Rear Admiral Michelle Howard, could it? - She is a black woman - Or that people still hate us even after we elected Obama, could it?)

And the stupidest pirates of the week award goes to the group of yahoos who tried to hijack a French frigate after mistaking it for a merchant vessel.
In response, the warship -- which is part of the EU Atalante anti-piracy naval mission -- dispatched commandos and a helicopter to intercept the pirates.

Ten suspected pirates were killed and eleven others were captured during the incident.
I think they might qualify for the Darwin awards. (The usual suspects have their knickers in a twist over the dead pirates.) I also think it is a sign of the apocalypse that France is only country consistently kicking ass in the Gulf of Aden, and the Indian Ocean.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

He Cooperated - Then He Was Shot

Fast-food manager killed during robbery in NW Harris He opened the safe and handed over the money. Then he was shot and killed.
After taking the money, the robber ordered the manager into the front walk-in cooler and shot him to death.
People talk about how cooperation with violent criminals will turn them non-violent, at least for the duration of your transaction. The truth is a bit uglier. Criminals don't like witnesses. Dead men tell no tales.

Being prepared to defend yourself does not mean you will be able to defend yourself. Being prepared for a car crash (by wearing your seat belt) does not guarantee you will survive every car crash. But you wear seat belts, don't you?

Cooperating with criminals is not the solution. Just take a look at what is going on off the coast of Somalia. "If you give a mouse a cookie, he's gonna want a glass of milk."

Use the Courts as Vehicle for Harassment

People think the System will protect you. This is the story of a guy who is using the courts to harass his wife. He is in prison for trying to kill her. (He came damn close.) 'He won't let go': Husband stalks divorce-seeking wife from his cell

The lawyers say it his right to continually file meaningless motions against his wife (The divorce isn't final, that is what he is fighting about.) The woman he admitted trying to kill.
FOUR YEARS after her husband shot her six times, repeatedly raped her and left her bleeding on the bathroom floor for hours, Crystal Haynes says that she's being victimized by him again - in court.

Today, she is to appear in Montgomery County Family Court for the ninth time in about 18 months to try to finalize a no-fault divorce she filed in 2005.
The judge could of course put a stop to it anytime. Put themselves out of business? Hasn't happened yet.

There is too much to list all his transgressions. Go look. Remember that the system will not protect you. Sometimes the system is part of the problem.

Two Stories of Home Invasions

Clayton Man Killed Protecting Girlfriend, 2 Children During Home Invasion This guy died a hero, defending children from violent attack.
Police said the gunman forced his way into a unit at the Poplar Springs Apartments in the 300 block of Dayna Springs Drive just after midnight.

When the suspect pointed his gun at the woman's head, her boyfriend began fighting with the gunman. The woman and the two children escaped and hid in a bedroom.
Hiding in a bedroom isn't something I recommend, but it worked in this case.

This guy was unarmed. He did what he had to do, but he paid a terrible price. K9 units were not able to track this guy, so he is still out there.

Homeowner shoots alleged intruder tells a different story.
A Hopkins homeowner shot a man in the upper body Thursday morning, telling Richland County sheriff’s deputies the man was trying to break into his home.
Now some will tell you that if the bad guy is armed, being able to defend yourself does no good. Really, consider the story at this link. And if you follow my posts on self-defense, there are plenty of examples of homeowners, shopkeepers and people with concealed carry permits who get the better of crooks, even when the crooks appear to start out with the upper hand. One of my favorite stories involves two armed goblins in a Subway Sandwich shop and 71-year-old, retired Marine. (One goblin was shot and killed, the other shot and arrested.)

Having the proper tools for a job, can make all the difference.

Self-defense is a human right.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Canada's Catch and Release Policy - for Pirates

globeandmail.com: Ottawa's piracy policy flouts law, experts say Canada needs to get its act together.
"Its ludicrous for the Harper government to claim that it can't arrest and prosecute pirates," said Michael Byers, who holds the Canadian Research Chair in International Law and Politics at the University of British Columbia. "Canada has a legal obligation under the United Nations and international law to bring pirates to justice."
Not only is international law on Canada's side, but piracy is still listed in the Canadian criminal code with maximum sentence of life in prison.

Other nations - aside from the Dutch - are doing a better job.
France has put pirates on trial in Paris. Russian warships seized 29 pirates this week. The German frigate Rheinland-Pfalz delivered seven captured pirates for trial in Mombasa 10 days ago. A Spanish warship landed another groups of captured pirates. More than 70 pirates captured by NATO warships have now been turned over to Kenyan authorities for trial.
Add to that the French, British and Yemeni commandos have killed pirates and rescued crews.

Giving pirates a stern talking-to, and sending them to their rooms isn't going to stem the tide of piracy.