Archive | August, 2010

>’Cos It’s No Fun Being Deaf In Hell?

31 Aug

>So — some guy goes over the edge (or already was) in Bratislava, Slovakia and shoots the place up, killing seven and injuring 15 before doing what he should have led his act with and blowing his own brains out.

I’m lookin’ at a photo accompanying one of the news stories when I realize he was wearing hearing protection. What, he embarks on course of action almost certain to result in his own violent, bloody death before the end of the day and he’s worried about hearing loss?

Then again, if he had any sense of proportion, he wouldn’t have shot up an innocent family.

About that family: it turns out they were Roma — the people you might know as Romany, the folks your grandmother called “Gypsies.” Another report provides a little more background. You might want to save it for the next time someone tells you Europe is soooo much safer than the ‘States ‘cos they’re “racially homogeneous.”

No word on the shooter’s own background. The imaginative reader can dream up whatever fits their own preconceptions, anything from Roma-on-Roma crime to a nitwit wanting to scrub out anyone who isn’t sufficiently homogenized to suit his bent notions. Me, I do not so much care about his reasons — there’s no fixing this sort of thing by understanding it — what I see is an individual who walked up to the rather low fence at at edge of civilized behavior, said, Screw that, and jumped over. Such persons have stopped being people in any meaningful way and joined mad dogs, plague, misplaced wolf packs and trash-raiding bears as threats; they should be dealt with as rabid dogs are. They can take their motives — and their earmuffs — into whatever next life awaits ’em. We don’t need ’em here.

Advertisements

>Getting Used To It Doesn’t Make It Right

30 Aug

>Americans used to watch in varying degrees of horror as hapless Europeans were importuned by uniformed d00ds, usually German, “Papers, pliss?”

Oh, sure, if you drove, you had to have a driver’s license — a least by the time films featuring papers-demanding jack-booted thugs were hitting the silver screen — but that bit of pasteboard only certified that your State trusted you behind the wheel. Social Security cards were around, too — with “NOT TO BE USED FOR IDENTIFICATION” printed right on ’em. ‘Cos Americans don’t go on for that sort of thing.

It ebbed away. Driver’s licenses sprouted photographs and merchants started asking to see them when you wrote a check — just to make sure, you know, and who could blame them. Banks asked when you opened an account (it is wistfully amusing to recall that W. C. Fields left savings accounts in phony names scattered across the United States and probably Europe; it is eye-opening to realize it is no longer possible) and eventually — for your own protection! — they wanted to know your Social Security number, too. They didn’t want to see your card, mind you, it still wasn’t for identification.

…Of course, you have to put it on you tax forms; after all, Uncle Sam had to keep track! And everyone got used to it. It was normal. Besides, it’s not like those demanding to see your “papers” were wearing jackboots, after all.

It’s 2010. Your driver’s license number, if it isn’t the same as your Social Security number, links right back to it in records any police officer can see. Even if you don’t drive, if you can’t drive, you need either the DL or an ID card that carries the same information. All manner of minor functionaries blandly demand your “Social” and you can’t board a commercial airplane without showing ID, having your shoes, effects and possibly yourself X-rayed and even then, it’s conditional; if your name happens to be on a secret list, you’re not allowed to fly — and there’s no appealing the decision.

And it’s “normal.” You’re used to it and it’s not like they’re wearing jackboots, ho-ho. Besides, it’s not all that much trouble, is it?

After all, it’s for your own good.

Americans were a free people. We used to watch, in varying degrees of horror, movie scenes where a hapless European was importuned by police or security guards on the street or in a train station. “Papers, please,” they’d demand, and compare the poor boob’s name against a list. It could never, we’d think, never happen here.

Oops.

(P.S.: It doesn’t say “Not to be used for identification” on your Social Security card any more. It hasn’t for a long, long time).

>Good Morning?

29 Aug

>If it is morning; after last week, my sense of time is upside-down and backwards. I do know I have one (1) day in which to get laundry and suchlike done, so further posting will have to happen later in the day.

>Bad Math

29 Aug

>Doing what I blithely pass off as “research” for the story below, I noticed The Thing That Was A Newspaper offering a Sunday-edition print-only exclusive* about the 20 IMPD officers who’ve gotten themselves in newsworthy hot water since 2008.

Ah ha, sez I, search engines are my friend, too. In a matter of moments, I have the approximate number of sworn officers in IMPD: 1,600.

Public Safety Director Dr. Frank Straub assures us the ones featured in our recent spate of IMPD officers in trouble are outliers: “Less than one percent,” he says.

Even assuming IMPD is either the most transparent police department in human history or they’ve not been able to keep a single serious peccadillo hidden from the various and sundry newsrooms, Dr. Straub’s slide rule needs to go into the shop: 20 out of 1,600 is, let’s see, carry the e, square root of 17…. 1.25%. See what too much TV face time and not enough mind-numbing paperwork will do ya?

(Update: Turns out I was wrong, wrong, wroooong: IMPD’s got 1700 sworn officers, making the percentage of baddies a tick over 1.58. What? You thought it’d be less? –See, there’s 27 of that number in serious hot water. Frank? Over to you.)

That still leaves plenty of good officers, a huge majority — who need to speak up about the bad eggs; c’mon, guys, some of your fellows in that thin blue line aren’t staying on it and the suspicion and ill-will they generate affects each and every one of you. Start snitchin’!
____________________
1. This may be one of those times when, mock them though I will, y’might wanna spend a penny to read it.

>They Were hoping To See Blood

29 Aug

>”Honor And Dreams Appear Ready To Clash” –headline in The Indianapolis Pointy Thing newspaper, Friday morning.

Seems they missed the point; unless I have missed something, middling-whiny conservative commentator Glenn Beck* and whinier Lefty Al Sharpton managed to stage big rallies today in just about rock-throwing distance and not start any fights that used anything but words.

Big Media in general has been chanting, “Fight! Fight!” on the sidelines and offering to pop popcorn from the git-go — but the American people ignored ’em. ‘Cos we’re better than that.

A common thread among ordinary people interviewed: “I don’t agree with [Rev. Al/Glenn/both] but they’re Americans, they’ve got a right to speak out.” Tell it to your dang Senator!
___________________________________
* I know many of my readers are more fond of Mr. Beck than am I. It isn’t that I really dislike him, I just think the man’s got a lot more Huey Long — or P.T. Barnum — to him than he has Ayn Rand. I’ll take my Becks Billy and my Glenns Reynolds, if you don’t mind, and if I want to be entertained, I’ll read a book.

>Hello And Gotta Git: Gun Show In Brief

28 Aug

>No, no, down, boy, it means “a quick report,” which is all I have time for.

Tam and I hit the Indy 1500 on Day One, arriving an hour after the doors opened to find…a long line! Inside, pretty crowded for a Friday and a fair amount of actual business going on. Plenty of ammunition available and word on the EPA lead-bullet idiocy did not appear to have (yet) caused a run on the stuff; I picked up a little .38 Super and .45ACP anyway, ‘cos you never know. (Also .38 Stupor is never easy to find, at least in gunstores around here: “Unh…we had a box of that around here somewheres…,” they say, unearthing a well-yellowed Winchester white box in a dust bunny) .

We saw not one but two early 20th-century Mauser .25 pistols, scaled-down replicas of their quirky .32, practically dollhouse guns. (“Everybody stay calm an’ hand over the glitter or Barbie gets it!”) and I held a couple of Merwin & Hulbert revolvers, which feature one of the oddest opening/closing mechanisms I have yet seen — unlatch the whole front of the frame/barrel assembly, twist it free of machined grooves and pull it (and the cylinder) forward to dump the spent brass and reload: better get it done in five rounds, cowboy, or carry a brace of ’em!

And — aw, would you look at the time? Laters, I gotta git.

>Speechless

27 Aug

>At least in metaphor; I did give ‘im the what for, but fat lotta good that’ll do.

In comments to “Eye In The Sky,” an anonymous (oh, really?) individual wrote:

Snore.

Oh cripes, here we go. The usual libertarian crap of making life as tough as possible on law enforcement and then whining when the guys can’t do their jobs cos the crooks have every benefit of the doubt and the cops have to fight crime with both arms tied behind them.

Grow up chickie. […]

Ya know what the awful truth is? Most human beings are uneducable cretins that need a big brother watching over them to keep them honest.

If he’s serious — and I think he is — then that nifty little Thoreau quote over there on the right is more true than ever, except he’s no friend of mine.

Civilizing the uncivilizable is our job — yours and mine — not that of the police or Teh Gummint. Nor is there any handy one-to-one correspondence between those who initiate force and fraud and “cretins,” educable or otherwise.

The awful truth is, you’d way rather live in a nice, neat North Korea or East Germany, regimented, patrolled, watched, civilized-from-above to an extreme degree, than any place where decent men and women are free.

Who was the dirty, empty-headed, commie, libertarian radical who said, “better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer“? Oh, I remember, it was that bomb-throwing William Blackstone, hippie-freak underminer of Decency and Order.

It matter how you play the game — especially when “you” is the full force and weight of Government, a Leviathan that can oppress the innocent and not even notice. Hell if I’ll give it any more leeway to roll me flat, even by innocent, dewey-eyed mistake.

Liberty: to some people, “I really don’t see what everyone is getting so excited about — it’s just a cat.” Maybe so; but it’s not your cat, so hands off!

Update: Remember, we’re not talking about if Enforcers Of The Law can put a tracking device on your car, only if they maybe hadn’t otta be required to convince a judge to issue a warrant first.