Better And Better

If you don't draw yours, I won't draw mine. A police officer, working in the small town that he lives in, focusing on family and shooting and coffee, and occasionally putting some people in jail.

Monday, June 28, 2010

You deserve a break today: McDonald's ruling.

Sebastian at Snowflakes In Hell gives a great first impression of Alito's plainly-worded decision in McDonald v Chicago.

It's not perfect (5-4 decision, same as Heller), but:

Basically, the lower court's decision is reversed and remanded. Heller is upheld, and Alito repeatedly makes clear that the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is a right.

It has a lot of greatness, but this one catches the eye:
Municipal respondents’ remaining arguments are at war with our central holding in Heller: that the Second Amendment protects a personal right to keep and bear arms for lawful purposes, most notably for self-defense within the home. Municipal respondents, in effect, ask us to treat the right recognized in Heller as a second-class right, subject to an entirely different body of rules than the other Bill of Rights guarantees that we have held to be incorporated into the Due Process Clause.
I did a search of the 214 page decision, and found that the word "right" comes up 665 times. That's a good thing, I think.

And this may be the star quote:

This line of argument is, of course, inconsistent with the long-established standard we apply in incorporation cases. See Duncan, 391 U. S., at 149, and n. 14. And the pre- sent-day implications of municipal respondents’ argument are stunning. For example, many of the rights that our Bill of Rights provides for persons accused of criminal offenses are virtually unique to this country. If our understanding of the right to a jury trial, the right against self-incrimination, and the right to counsel were necessary attributes of any civilized country, it would follow that the United States is the only civilized Nation in the world.
If only they'd referenced Marko Kloos at that last line.

More to come. Hurray!

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Friday, June 25, 2010

Oh. Yeah.

It's that time. Time for a refill, in a big way.

As you can see, my little 18 oz. bottle of garlic chili sauce that we popped open last week is about done with. Fortunately, my wife made a recent trip to the Asian Market again.

The goodness, it burns.

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

What to do, what to do?

I've been getting hits on a blog that I posted about 14 months ago, on Sneaking Out. Well, it is summertime, isn't it?

Most of the hits are Google or Yahoo searches that amount to some variation of "What should I do after I sneak out?"

(I note that most of the hits that I get from search engines are plain-English queries. Strange. I always use keywords or phrases. A search on the timeline of the Battle Of Hastings, I would search for with "Knut, 'William The Conqueror', 1066, England, Normandy, battle, timeline", or a variation of those.)

My answer: go see your world. Learn that there's nothing special about the night. Learn that there's nothing special to be afraid of, either. It's just day without daylight. It's also when most people sleep. This may seem like an ideal time for mischief, but it also makes anyone out and about at that time a very suspicious person, meaning that you may well be caught in your mischief.

Then go home, and get some sleep.

Don't get anyone pregnant. Don't catch diseases. Don't be out and about while your wits are dulled by drugs or alcohol. Don't hang out with strangers, no matter how exciting they may be, without a trusted friend on scene.

Frankly, this is pretty good advice to adults, too.

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The border.

I don't ask much from our Federal Government. Actually, I ask LESS from it. Our gets up in people's business when it has no right to do so, a vast majority of the time. As such, it spends citizen's money without generating new income, without a compelling reason.

But there are a few things that our IS expected to do. Such as this little ditty:

"The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence." (Art. IV, Sec. 4, USC)

Now, there are those who would claim "well, there's not an official invasion going on at our border." Okay-- it's just domestic violence, then. Hey, I don't believe that the average immigrant that illegally crosses the border into the U.S. is violent. The vast majority of the violence committed by illegal border-crossers is committed by smugglers. And, for better or worse, they're smuggling in what our Federal Government declared war on, back in 1986.

Now, we've Declared War On A Noun.

And, the Other Side (the drug dealers) are coming into our country, illegally, to sell their wares.

And, our federal government, the guys who Declared War On A Noun (that aforementioned ware that's being smuggled in), doesn't consider this an invasion?

Think about what would happen if other opponents in other wars came into our country in an organized fashion. Think about what happened the last time a semi-organized group of Mexicans came into our country to commit felonies against U.S. citizens.

Look, I'm not asking that our federal government commit to a punitive expedition. I'm just asking that we see more done to secure the borders, rather than suing the states that are trying to do it themselves.

Over at Tam's place, she's commented on the situation, and there's an interesting interaction going on in her comments. Her libertarian-minded friend Shootin' Buddy is of the mind that the folks along the border should handle the problem themselves. "If you choose to live near the bear cage, don't complain about the smell. They clean the cage, or they can whine."

Funny thing-- they're trying to do just that, and are being threatened with federal suit by the same feds that have a duty to handle this.

And U.S. border residents aren't afraid to defend their turf; they're just afraid of their own government for attacking them when they do so. My friend Art, who goes by DesertRat in those comments on Tam's post, lives in the Big Bend region of Texas. As he says in the comments about Shootin' Buddy's derision of people US Citizens along the border: "Nuthin' more helpful than someone who doesn't know sheep dip from wild honey about other folks' problems."

Art's not asking for a handout. He doesn't expect the Nanny Government to hold his hand. But he'd like to see the same government that tells him it's now a felony to drive his pickup across the Rio at a convenient crossing for an evening across the border, do something to stem the flow of illegals threatening legal citizens.

The Bureau of Land Management has put up some very helpful signs on southern AZ BLM lands, to help would-be hikers and campers stay away from the problem, though.

We cops who work in the border states have been getting notice for the past year that the cartels are putting pressure on their mules not to give up their loads without a fight. Last week, direct threats were made to the Nogales, AZ police that they would be shot at if they worked too hard at stopping smuggled shipments.

My partner and I caught an undocumented alien this weekend, who lied about who he was, where he lived, where he was from. Due to state and federal law, I couldn't even run his fingerprints to see if he was a wanted criminal. All we had him on was a simple traffic ticket: No driver license. It wasn't until I had spent 2 hours researching and calling in database searches (IAQs) that we finally identified him as a person living under an alias, which made him un-accountable for his prior offenses. This made him guilty of "Fail To Identify," it finally got us a Class B misdemeanor, which allowed us to put an ICE hold on him, so that he couldn't bond out, to change his name for the fifth time in two years. Part of living in a society of laws is being accountable for your actions. When you're here illegally, you're not.

In Arizona, their new law makes it a jailable misdemeanor for a documented alien not to carry their papers, or a state jailable misdemeanor to be an undocumented alien. This allows them to quickly and easily put an ICE hold on them, for deportation. It also allows them to run the guy's fingerprints through the state system.

I wish we had that law. It would save a lot of time. It also would be fairer to the citizens that I arrest who ARE documented, who have to actually account for their misdeeds.

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Let's get one thing clear:

This is INCORRECT. I now question the judgment of the people that I work with, that one of them has done this.
No, no, NO!

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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Why? Why?!?

They're remaking True Grit.

I don't understand Hollywood's love affair with taking a classic, and trying to redo it.

Oh, that's not true: I do, too. To most questions starting with "Why don't they...?" or "Why did they...?", the answer is simply "Money." As a friend of mine sometimes said, "Follow the money trail.................."

The movie industry, like almost any other industry worth its salt, is in the business of making money. Remaking a classic award-winning movie that was very successful 41 years before will get nostalgic suckers theatre-goers to buy tickets. There are likely more John Wayne fans now than there were back then, so the take will probably be good.

I don't have a problem with Matt Damon as Le Boeuf. Hell, that's an upgrade. Glenn Campbell once said of his movie experience: "I'd never acted in a movie before, and every time I see True Grit, I think my record's still clean."

I don't know the new actress playing Mattie Ross. She's probably a superb actress, who is kicking off a grand career.

Barry Pepper takes Robert Duvall's position as "Lucky" Ned Pepper. Was he chosen for his name? It's true that he looks very similar to the way Duvall looked back then. (Which begs the question: are the Cohens just trying to do the whole thing the same, without any artistic license to change?)

But Jeff Bridges plays the role of Marshall Reuban J. "Rooster" Cogburn? Jeff. Frickin'. Bridges?

Look, just because I'm going to buy a ticket doesn't mean that I support this kind of misdeed.

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Monday, June 14, 2010

Let me say this once, for everyone:

You do NOT have a reasonable expectation of privacy from being photographed while on a public street.

Not if you're a cop.

Not if you're a congressman.

Get over yourselves. Public is PUBLIC.

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Scale: the impact depends on the viewer.

You could see everything in this in 10 seconds.

I spent a good 10 minutes, myself.

I feel very small.

But it's a shame that it didn't show parsecs in the scale.

However, it did teach me about the yottameter. Yotta was not a prefix that I had heretofore known. Interesting. It looks very useful. Well, to someone.

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Sunday, June 13, 2010

Falling behind.

I'm badly behind on my paperwork at work. The state has a new accident report format that I need to try to master, for a hit-and-run that I caught. (For Gender, you don't put in "M" or "F", you put in a "1" or "2." How non-intuitive could you get?) I've got a DWI to put away, and an Identity Theft to investigate and type up. Those warrants need tending to, as well. Tonight's my night off, and I'm seriously thinking about sneaking in to just knock some of that paperwork out, so that I can get back to patrol. In a larger department, the cases would be handled by CID, or typed up by a secretary. But in a smaller department, we do it all, including walking the case up to the district attorney. It's somewhat gratifying, at times, but sometimes it's overwhelming, when you find yourself the victim of your own success in finding cases, and your own demands in filing them correctly.

This paperwork got put on hold the other night when I answered a Theft In Progress call. Some guys were stealing Bermuda grass sod from a pallet in front of a newly-constructed house. I found their little truck driving away a few blocks away, and stopped it. They were painters, who had been working on this and three other houses in the neighborhood, making them ready for move-in. The grass had been delivered that night to the house, with the yard all tilled and prepped for a landscaping crew to lay it out the next morning. They were working late, and had houses in nearby Big City. They took about 25 pieces of the sod. We called their supervisor, and his supervisor, and the building superintendent, and all said that they couldn't take the grass. They went to jail.

At the jail, I was putting together their probable cause affidavits, when a young DPS Trooper walked up to me. "What've you got?" he asked, just out of curiosity.

"Sod theft," I answered, not a little enigmatically.

"S.O.D.? Now, what's that an acronym for?" he asked, thinking that I was throwing jargon at him.

"Nothing. It is grass, with the roots, clinging to a layer of dirt. It is sold commercially in half-yard and third-yard squares, to lay out a nice quick lawn for a new house. In this case, it's a type of Bermuda grass sod that runs about $150 a pallet. Each pallet holds about 165 pieces. These guys took about 25 pieces," I let him in.

"But that's only...." he rolled up his eyes to do the math.

"Around $20 worth of grass. Yeah. I know," I said. Trust me-- I had already played out the cost-benefits of this arrest in my own head.

"Then why didn't you just..."

"Cut them loose with citations for Theft Under $50?" I finished for him. "Well, for one thing, none of these guys are U.S. citizens, none have affirmative identification, and I have no way to prove who they are or to hold them accountable to respond to their citations. They could give me any name. Secondly, we municipal officers have been dealing with a lot of construction site thefts. We might, maybe, catch one in ten. When we do catch them, they go to jail. Theft of $2,000 worth of supplies, or Theft of $2.00, you're going to jail. We're tired of it, the builders are tired of it, and the citizens are tired of it." (Thieves cost a city in man-hours spent on the investigation, in other ancillary thefts, and in a general loss of the feeling of security that a neighborhood feels.)

The trooper nodded, and walked over to my prisoners.

"You know, you can grow your own grass, right?" He chuckled. "You didn't even steal the kind most people want!"

He laughed. "Grass! That's a first for me."

I smiled, but didn't laugh. It wasn't a first for me. And it had put me even further behind on my paperwork, just for three Class C offenses.*

*Or maybe not. I just checked, and they all three got ICE holds put on them.

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Friday, June 11, 2010

Because I'm a geek,

I'll link you here to the climax of a great movie, which was only the SECOND show that I saw this week, involving a main character named "Pris," and which involved rogue androids being hunted and killed.*

The other one was a series, and something of a guilty pleasure from when I used to room with another geek, in my twenties. Of course it was anime.

Well, that's out of my system.

Moving on.

* If you're not worried about cybernetic critters rising up and killing people in the future, then you don't know Dick.

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Across the board age discrimination doesn't really work.

I have dealt with 20 year-olds who really should not be left out on their own overnight. I have negotiated traffic stops with physically healthy 43 year-olds who should not be allowed to drive on their own, and never should be allowed access to anything more dangerous than a hacksaw or a pea-shooter. I have met 12 year-olds that I think should be granted status as adults for the felonies that I have seen them brazenly commit. I have met 11 year-olds that I would have no problem with, if they went on a trip overnight in rough territory, or kept a house by themselves, armed at all times.

Some human beings are simply more capable than others. Some are capable to a completely satisfactory adult level, long before their birthdate has reached magic numbers of, say "18" or "21" or the like.

Somewhere out in the Indian Ocean is a 16 year old young lady named Abby Sunderland, who had displayed enough drive and ability that she was given a shot to pilot a sailboat on a voyage around the world. It now looks possible that she's not going to live through that voyage, due to inclement weather. ** Such single-person sailing expeditions can be dangerous. It happens.

But teenagers die on their way to school in their cars, and they perish in odd accidents that you wouldn't have expected. And they die at home. None of us gets out of this life alive.

But, for a time, she was captain of her own vessel, and completely in charge of her own destiny. Not a lot of 16 year-olds can say that. Probably most aren't ready to do so. But she and some other people evidently thought that she was ready, and she tried to live just a little bit more than most of us do.

I can't make myself judge her parents for that. They know if she was ready.*


*Insofar as the costs of the rescue efforts go, I firmly believe that is between her family and the Australian rescue groups. That absolutely must have been considered before such an endeavor was attempted.

**EDIT: Turns out that she's fine.

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Thursday, June 03, 2010

The best money you'll ever spend?

$300 at the urologist's office, for a vasectomy.

H/T to Phleghmmy.

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Two great tastes that taste great together.

Marching bands and ghillie suits.

Whoever OK Go has producing their videos, he's having a damned good time.

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