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.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

"If I knew then what I know now." 2014 in review.

"On the last day of Pompeii
Thought I heard some poor boy say:
'Oh wow man if I knew then what I know now
I would've done more been more than I been
Had fun more sinned more mortal sin
Oh wow
If I knew then what I know now
I would've sent back that steak that was so overdone
Grabbed that big break while there was time time time
Made my life into a fantasy
Hot stuff for me to remember remember
And now that I'm a goner
All that lava rushin' 'round the corner
Oh wow-- I ain't complainin'-- only thinkin out loud...'"
Trout Fishing In America sang it best, but I can't find y'all a link to their performance of Michael Smith's great song about living for the moment. ;

Comes now the end of 2014, and we have lists of what came and what went.

We lost more and more of our Greatest Generation, and we lost some more of our innocence.

This year, our nation went from 18 states with legal same-sex marriage, to 35 who legally accept it.

This year, we saw more distrust of police than I've ever seen in my life, even while there is more oversight than there has ever been. When I got into patrol, we were just beginning to put patrol cameras into patrol cars, and soon after, made it required. I just saw a proposal for bills for the 2015 Texas legislative session, including two requiring that departments equip officers with body cameras, and apply for grant funding if they couldn't afford it. I reckon that we'll see body cameras on every uniformed officer within 3 years. And here's a prediction: I predict that we will see weapon-mounted cameras become standard within 10 years for police. Maybe even sooner. I predict some kind of automatic proximity switch will turn on the camera when the duty pistol is drawn from the duty holster.  Something to invest in, because they're coming.

This year, I had reinforced again that facts really take a back seat to emotions when people have an agenda to push. The Ferguson riots started with a rally cry of "Hands up! Don't shoot!" In fact, it turns out this was based upon a false premise. I had people tell me that, regardless of the facts in that shooting, the disparity in races in nationwide shootings throughout history give one reason to believe in racism on the part of the officer shooter. Think about that for a moment: the individual incident no longer matters: it's the perception of a trend that matters. Meanwhile, we cannot use criminal history of an individual as evidence of his most recent crime.

This year, we saw quadcopter drones with high-definition digital cameras really take off, literally and figuratively. This will have repercussions that we haven't even realized, yet. Heck, I've been pricing them myself, even. I had an 8 year old go missing at a park near a large field with a creek in it the other day, and was thinking, as I toned out the Volunteer Fire Department, how nice it would be to conduct a quick fly-over with a drone to find the kid. (Fortunately, a cold rain began to fall, which told me (when he didn't show up) that he was likely not outdoors. We searched nearby houses, and found that he'd made a new friend that he'd neglected to tell his mom about.) They can be run off of tablets with WiFi boosters, and you can get into one for well under $500 if you don't need high end and already have a tablet.   I can see hunters scouting their area with these. Home defense? Get one with an IR camera. Police work, good and bad? Sure. Fire suppression. Crop evaluation. Roof inspections. I think of those guys who inspect radio towers. This would be the greatest thing since sliced bread.

This year, we saw NetFlix, originally just a streaming service for movies and syndicated television shows, be taken seriously as another network, turning out its own produced shows of high quality that had Emmy expectations. My wife bought a couple of dozen shares of NetFlix a few years ago, and sold it for a nice profit a couple of years ago. Man, we wish we had held on to that, now!
Shoulda held on to some of that.

This year, we saw the economy of China become the largest in the world, and some people tried to make hay over that. Really? They've been the largest country (by population) all of my life. It's hardly surprising that they would have a bigger economy. Now, let's see what they do with it. We still have the biggest market and most revenues. Frankly, I'd like to see China be more careful with its environmental issues; we're downstream of them. 

On a personal note: 
This year, I saw my elder daughter learn to drive. She's not bad. I saw my younger daughter turn 12, and overtake both her mother and her elder sister (16) in height. I saw my elder daughter take the stage in a musical, and knock it out of the park singing in front of a full auditorium, the same semester that she had started choir. Then she started dating. (He's a fine boy. No, seriously.)

This year, I took my elder daughter to get two ear operations, and took my wife to have a gall bladder removed and have heavy sinus surgery. All of this, BTW, was since October. Given that we've never had any kind of operations in my little nuclear family before (we're a healthy lot), it's been nerve-racking. 

This year, we re-roofed our house and put gutters on it, and set up a cash-back refinance that will end up going through next week, with which we're buying a nice used Tacoma pickup. 

I lost a few pounds, this year, and then this holidays gained 15 pounds right back. 

This year, I trained a guy the way I wanted him trained. I sat on a couple of review boards, and did some background checks. I put some bad guys (real ones) in jail, and saw more than one find prison time. I also helped a few decent people who had made some technical errors in judgement get right with the law. I also helped a few people that just needed help. But I also got some people mad at me, and I just hope that I was doing the right thing when I did. 

I have seen evidence that I have the respect of my boss, whom I respect. I've gotten phone calls this year from officers calling me for advice when I was off-duty, and I will tell you that there is no greater compliment. 

2015 comes now, and I don't know what it brings me. But I hope it brings us collectively more peace. 

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