I lost an acquaintance the other day, his name was William Duty. He died unexpectedly at 51 years old. He had just walked out of a gym, sat down in his car and died, just like that. My relationship with him is unusual, because we first met in Guam in 1989, then we managed to cross paths again in Memphis 7,500 miles away and 25 years later.
Will was not only in my division when we were stationed in Guam, we also saw each other on Saturdays at the nearby Andersen AFB in the Project Warrior wargaming club. Our tours overlapped by about six months (I arrived in June 1989, he left about Christmas 1989). Here in Memphis, we usually saw each other at board gaming meetups. When I first bumped into him several years ago, we didn't realize who the other was. I lost hair, he grew out his hair and a beard and we both gained weight. It took me talking about my time in Guam that he overheard and we started talking and realized we knew each other. In fact, a very close friend of mine Bill Weldon who followed me from Hawaii to Guam a few months later, ended up in Will's shop and Will trained Bill.
The last time we saw each other, I was talking about when Project Warrior as a group crossed a Modern D10 land wargame (I forget the name) and Battletech. I was playing Commander of the Battlemech lance (4 'Mechs) and Will was coordinating fire with a platoon of APC's armed with FOG-M's (Fiber Optic Guided Missiles). Those damn FOG-M's were killing a 'Mech a turn and were out of sight and way out of range for me.
I titled this "Unfinished business" because I still have a newsletter from Project Warrior and I promised to scan it and send him a copy. I don't think my email can reach into the next world. Will, you will be missed by many people.
Babylon 5 is my favorite TV show. It had characters with real flaws, who dealt with real-life issues and the episodes were not interchangeable, like "Brand X" (Star Trek). This series taught me that "You must do the right thing for the right reasons. If you do the right thing for the wrong reasons, you will corrupt and destroy the good you have created."
I learned yesterday that Jerry Doyle, the actor who played Chief Warrant Officer Michael Garibaldi, died suddenly at age 60. He joins Andreas Katsulas (G'kar), Richard Biggs (Dr. Stephen Franklin) and Jeff Conaway (Sgt. Zack Allan) in the Great Unknown.
While probably many people who watched B5 identified with the characters Sinclair or Sheridan (for the ladies Ivanova or Delenn), I always identified with Garibaldi. He didn't take any guff, he was very passionate and didn't compromise his principles. Garibaldi had a clear sense of right and wrong and a strong loyalty to his friends. He took care of his friends and was very indirect on how he exacted revenge against those who hurt him. Out of all of the scenes with Mr. Garibaldi, this one is the one I like the best:
The only loose end not tied up by the series end was how Garibaldi took care of Bester. After some research, I found out that Garibaldi (after the no-harm block was removed) pursued Bester. In the end, Garibaldi left Bester alive, in prison and stripped of his telepathic abilities.
After an afternoon and evening running errands in and around Memphis today, I come back home and on my way into the house, I picked up the mail, which included a letter from the Grand Lodge F & A M of Tennessee. I have been waiting for and dreading this letter for some time.
The important part reads,
The defendant was found guilty of the charges and will receive the sentence of 'Expelled from Masonry' as of July 19, 2016.
I love this country and what it stands for so much that I spent 13 years serving it, ready to lay down my life if called upon. I love Masonry more. I felt it was necessary for me to make this stand because Masonry taught me to never compromise my character.
If I seem angry, short-tempered or more sarcastic than usual, this is why. I ask for your forgiveness.
This particular article has been running around in my head for a while. It wasn’t until recently that I found the video clip below that I felt I needed to drive home the point I want to make.
Just to be clear, when I talk about “Global Climate Change” (as in Capitalized) I mean the “Man-made climate disaster” kind of thing.
To start off, I would be a fool if I did not believe in the fact that the Earth’s climate is changing. The climate as a whole is changing every day, like a shoreline. The climate ebbs and flows, just like the ocean tide coming in and going out twice each day. It does, trust me. I’m a sailor and have navigated boats and ships upon the ocean.
I would also be a fool if I believed that mankind alone is the sole or major player in that climate change. A change of a few degrees of temperature on the Sun, or the eruption of a volcano has at least the same and probably more impact on the global climate as all of us put together.
I admit that Mankind burning all of these fossil fuels does have some impact. How much, I don’t know. All of these climate scientists can’t agree themselves and they have a lot better access to the data than I do.
I have been watching this debate since I was a teenager in the 70’s, I have discovered that published data supporting Global Climate Change to be very suspect. Over the years, I have seen reports about a single weather station and its data “proving” climate change. The bad news is that several years of the data in question was “reported” by that station before it was even built. I have seen other reports that satellite data has been “massaged” to support the “climate change” theory.
You see, I remember when these Global Climate Change scientists were yelling about Global Cooling in the 70’s. Their “solution” was to spread carbon dust over the poles to absorb more heat from the Sun. In the 90’s, Al Gore started to raise the alarm about Global Warming. Imagine how much worse that Global Warming would have been if we actually had covered the poles with carbon dust in the 70’s. Because these crackpot scientists really can’t make up their minds on if the Earth is warming or cooling (it’s actually doing both, at the same time), they did agree on finally calling it Global Climate Change because then it means whatever they want it to mean.
The weatherman on our local daily newscast uses the best climatological models and software money can buy, yet they have great difficulty predicting with any accuracy what the weather will be for a specific city more than three days in the future. I really have to ask, if these professionals can’t have more than a 30% accuracy for a specific location more than 72 hours into the future, how can other professionals be able to predict with any certainty what the climate will be like in fifty to one hundred years? I can assure you if the sunspot activity on the Sun drops or jumps dramatically, or there’s an unanticipated volcano eruption that these Global Climate Change scientists didn’t predict, all their models go right out the window.
I personally believe we are like fleas jumping up and down on the back of an elephant. We think we are affecting things but really we are not.
To those people who believe that we should either drastically cut back or stop entirely our use of fossil fuels, I want to give you a Magic Button that will instantly stop all production and use of all fossil fuels. I am not going to use half-way measures like the Kyoto Protocol because that will not stop the damage, only prolong it.
The following clip is from the 1952 movie Above and Beyond. The man in question is Lieutenant Colonel Paul Tibbets, the man who piloted the B-29 Enola Gay that dropped the atomic bomb Little Boy on Hiroshima Japan. I have edited this clip, which is why it jumps.
Lt. Col Tibbets pressed that button on the incomplete knowledge that he could stop WWII the next day by pressing that button, killing over 100,000 people in the process. He didn’t know how it would be done, only that it became a very real possibility if he pressed that button.
I now offer you that button, giving you the knowledge that if you press it, the current ecosystem will most likely survive as is and could recover. There will also be large-scale human deaths involved. If you don’t press it, things will go on the way it’s going right now.
Now if you don’t press the button, I would have nothing further to describe, so for the sake of argument, let’s say you do press the button and stop all production and use of fossil fuels. To start off with, cities of any size are for lack of a better term black holes. Every city has to pull in everything it needs every day from the surrounding area at a minimum and the world as a whole because it cannot provide basic necessities for human life without outside resources.
So when we press that Magic Button, the first thing we notice is the lights will go out. That means no light at night beyond candles, no heat when it’s cold beyond burning wood in your fireplace and certainly no air conditioning when it’s hot. Yes there is nuclear, solar and hydroelectric power generation methods, but in the United States they are a small fraction of the total power output and thus not worthy to mention.
No power also means no computers, no Internet, no Television. Oh, sure, some things that are battery powered will go on for a day or so, unless you have a solar recharger to keep it charged. And really what good will that laptop, cell phone or tablet do for you for you if there is no cellular network and no Internet?
The second thing you will notice is deliveries have stopped. That means no more Amazon packages delivered daily by UPS, FedEx or DHL. No more mailman. No more trucks delivering food and the thousand other sundry items you use every day without noticing into your city or town. Once your pantry is empty, what are you going to do? All your money is in the bank, tied to your debit card. Since the cash registers and ATM’s don’t have power, you can’t buy food.
By the way, the government is not coming to help you. Instead of being exempted from burning fossil fuels, your Magic Button affected them as well. There is no cavalry coming over the hill in the nick of time to save you.
You, and millions of others who are used to the city life now face two choices. You can either starve to death in place, become bandits killing others for their supplies, or you can migrate on foot out to the rural areas where you will likely die on the way by the hands of bandits or others fleeing as well. If you’re lucky you might make it to a farm to become serfs of the farmer. You work and tend his crops for a share of the food. You better hope if you’re female the landowner does not know what droit de seigneur means.
If you live in an area without farms nearby, you might survive off the land long-term, but the odds are against you because there are thousands trying to do the same thing.
By pressing that button, you have realistically killed over 200 million people in the United States alone. World-wide, most of the people in cities and developed countries will die.
Out of the 7.2 billion people living on Earth right now, you would kill at least 3-5 billion people, condemning them to death from food riots or starvation, all because you want to “stop Global Warming.” You would knock us back to a pre-Industrial Revolution way of life.
Congratulations! You have outdone many times over the total efforts of Stalin, Mao, Hitler and Pol Pot put together. You should be proud of yourself. You name will be remembered for the rest of Mankind. I do not know if your name will be remembered with praise or as a curse.
I started writing this post at the beginning of the month. Due to blog issues it was lost twice. One last try, because this is important.
The start of July 2016 saw the deaths of two Black men which were partially caught on video. One was a career criminal, who was killed by police while resisting arrest. One was a positive influence in his church and community, who died due to a tragic miscommunication between himself and the officer. I grieve for these dead men, the officers involved and all of their families and communities.
While I do not fault the Black community for being outraged over these two deaths, I have to ask this: every week, forty-eight Black people are killed across this country in Black-on-Black violence with nary a peep from social media, nor the national-level media. Even the local media covers it like "Yeah, another 3 Black people were killed and 12 wounded in weekend violence. Stay tuned, we'll report this again next week." I then see the local Black leaders hold prayer vigils and call for the end of violence.
And not a damn thing happens, except more young Black people are killed. If you want to solve a problem (i.e., the scores of Black deaths), I suggest you break down the problem and then with all of your effort go after the biggest issue.
The federal government cannot solve this issue. Nor can the state government, nor county/city government. They can be part of the solution, however the People must take action if this is truly to be solved.
This is what I see:
A Black culture that glorifies violence in its many forms.
A Black culture that punishes advancing in life.
A broken prison and parole system.
A community who fails its citizens.
A surplus of idle hands.
I refuse to paint this issue with a broad brush. This is not "all Blacks" or any other nonsense. This is a very specific segment of the Black population. To change how society handles them is a task that falls on all of us. To changes themselves, that must come from within them.
I want to start out saying the majority of Black families (single-parent and nuclear) want and push their children to learn, gain knowledge and succeed in life. These parents are to be commended for their actions.
When I hear Blacks roll by me in their cars, blaring Rap music I get sad. Most of the Rap music I hear uses all kinds of derogatory and dehumanizing terms towards women, as well as advocating violence and illegal activity. I understand this music is a reflection of their daily lives. That does not preclude those same Rap artists from focusing on the positive aspects of the lives of those people. When it comes to advancing in life, there is a portion of the Black population that punishes other Blacks for wanting to succeed. If a Black schoolchild is studying to be a professional (either white-collar or skilled), they are punished by their peer group for "wanting to be White." The result, an untrained young Black person lacking the foundation of knowledge to operate effectively in this society and is unhireable for anything more than grunt work at minimum wage. The males are forced into illicit activities to provide income, thus dying early in gang violence or spending most of their lives in prison. The women survive by popping out babies to get on Welfare.
Make no mistake about it, what I have just described is a small percentage of the Black community. That being said, it is this sliver of the population where most of the violence and lawlessness comes from.
The ideas I am about to describe to you will not be easy. Nothing worth having ever comes easy. It will not be a fast solution. This is a "crock pot" solution versus a "microwave" solution. If the proper effort is consistently applied, it will take at least 20 years before meaningful change happens.
The prison system has to change. The current prison system is not designed to rehabilitate. It is designed to crush the mind, spirit and body of the prisoner. Yes, there are isolated programs to teach felons trades, but they are just that, isolated. A trade school program to certify these men and women in lucrative, marketable skills is essential, both in High School (so they don't get into the justice system in the first place) and prison (so they have skills to keep them out of prison).
The parole system has to change. Right now a felony conviction ruins a person for the rest of their lives. It cuts off most of their opportunities and relegates them to the low-paying, unskilled labor which almost guarantees their re-entry into the justice system. There needs to be a universal incentive for businesses to hire first-time felons who acquired those marketable skills and put them to work.
Society has to "disavow" its criminals. Up until the Civil War, miscreants (defined as depraved or villainous) who caused too much trouble in a town or village were "ridden out of town on a rail." Let me show you want that meant.
This is a fence rail. notice how the top rail is actually pretty much square in its cross-section.
Because our colonial ancestors didn't have the time or equipment to make their fence rails fancy, the old-fashioned and simplest way was to quarter a log, like this:
So when someone was "ridden out of town on a rail," the townspeople stripped the miscreant naked, then carried him to the edge of town on said fence rail, lifted upon the shoulders of two men. The rail was positioned with the point upwards (as shown) and the miscreant straddled the rail. I think the terms "extremely painful" and "wood splinters in the genitals and crotch" would be accurate regarding said ride. Tarring and feathering (coating the miscreant with liquid tar then covering him with feathers) usually accompanied the "traveling by rail," either before or after. Below is an image from the book Huckleberry Finn describing such an incident. Notice the miscreant has already been tarred and feathered.
The whole purpose of this exercise was to "encourage" the miscreant to either conform to the socially acceptable behavior of the town or move on down the road to the next town.
Today, we lack the necessary plethora of strong men and fence rails. That being said, the mother of a criminal who performed a drive-by should not be on TV saying, "He's a good boy!" Your "good boy" shot 20+ bullets into a house full of people because he didn't like one of them, killing three including a toddler. This criminal, violent sub-section of our society needs to be forcefully ejected from town and be told in no certain terms, "Don't come back." Everyone in the neighborhood knows where the drug houses are and who the gang-bangers are. I also know the gang-bangers are well-armed and have zero compunction against shooting you in the head, then sitting on your still-warm body and eating lunch. The gang-bangers will be run out of town when the people in those neighborhoods throw them out despite their fears.
I am not advocating violence except as a last resort. If you can run the gang-bangers out of town without anyone getting hurt, I'm all for it. Absent that outcome, the most extreme option might be for our neighborhoods to gather together at 2 am to throw Molotov cocktails into the windows of every drug house and shoot everybody who escapes the flames. Gang-bangers are a cancer in our cities and towns. Surgery to remove the cancer must be performed, amputation if necessary. I understand the actions and consequences of these actions and I do not say this lightly.
Once the criminals are flushed, then businesses can come into the depressed neighborhoods and start offering jobs. The jobs can be right there or shuttle service could be offered. I don't know how exactly it would play out. When the Black population from these poorer neighborhoods divest themselves from the criminal element, acquire a positive and drug-free attitude, the jobs are there. I know of one factory in my city that is short-handed, simply because many of the job applicants can't pass a drug screening.
Learning must be equated with prosperity. Once these prior changes are well into effect, then the Black culture needs to start associating learning, knowledge and skills with success and affluence rather than just sports ability or how well they can write and perform Rap music.
I for one want everybody to succeed without regard to their skin color, sex, ethnic heritage, socioeconomic background or anything else. Everybody has a different vision of success. While some want to strike it rich, become a CEO and make a Billion dollars a year, others may want to meet their monthly expenses, save for retirement and spend every evening at home with their family. I'm all for you deciding what you want.
Over the past week, if you have noticed some interruption in the access or quality of this website, that's because I have been trying to improve my administration of it using a Content Delivery Network (CDN). This service is designed to improve security against malicious bots and improve page loading time. Because of how it works, I cannot use my testbed website for testing and working out bugs and other issues. It turns out that there were several IEDs in this CDN road and I hit them all.
I have brought this website back off the CDN and I will try to work with them to get it working. Once I get this CDN issue resolved and working, I will let you know who this provider is, how I was treated and whom I eventually ended up with.
I am actually going to quote the last paragraph first, because what it says is very important:
The reality is that we don’t know exactly why men are exponentially more prone to violence. If we are going to reduce mass shootings, officer-involved killings and the culture of violence in America, however, we need to talk about it.
I bring this up right away because this paragraph is full of fallacies. I will break it down to show you:
The reality is that we don’t know exactly why men are exponentially more prone to violence. Yes, we are pretty sure and the author hits the nail on the head earlier in the article:
Some evolutionary psychologists say that more aggressive men have historically been able to procure more women, food and land.
I have said this before, the preservation and expansion of one’s genetic heritage is our base biological reason for existing. Men do this by wanting to impregnate as many women as possible, thus ensuring their genetic heritage by quantity. Women preserve their genetic heritage by trading unrestricted sexual access to one male in return for the protection by that male of themselves and their children, thus preserving their genetic heritage through quality of breeding and increasing the chance of the individual child to survive to adulthood.
If we are going to reduce mass shootings, officer-involved killings and the culture of violence in America… This is not an American problem, it’s a world-wide issue. You want to talk about a “culture of violence”? Shall we talk about Honor Killings? You may also not realize this, chattel slavery is happening right this second. Over six million people are currently chattel (permanent property, as opposed to Indentured for a number of years) slaves across the globe. Don’t whine about ancient history (antebellum slavery in the United States) when it is current events.
When we talk about “officer-involved” killings, the causes are extremely varied. From the “You’ll never take me alive copper!” kind of criminal to the resisting arrest that escalates to deadly force, to the miscommunication between the police and citizen that leads to the death of the citizen. When a police officer invokes violence or death upon a citizen, it should be investigated and upon conviction in a court of law, harshly punished.
… [W]e need to talk about it. The issues and societal causes that lead to these outcomes are varied, complex and should be talked about.
You better buckle your seatbelts, because that’s pretty much the end of my agreement with Ms. Melissa Warnke, the author of this article.
Let me quote the first paragraph of Ms. Warnke’s article:
On Thursday morning, a fire alarm in the Los Angeles Times’ building went off. Fortunately, the dozens of office alarms I’ve heard over the years have always been drills or misfiring systems. For the first time, instead of begrudgingly grabbing my belongings and traipsing downstairs, I was afraid. For the first time, the thought in my mind wasn’t “drill” but “shooter.”
I am currently analyzing all of the data from the Mass Shooting Tracker website and I have all of their data on “mass shootings” from 2013 until a few days ago. I am currently going through the news articles related to over 1,200 incidents from 1/1/2013 on to “drill down” and get more information beyond the date, city and the numbers of dead and wounded.
I will say that out of those 1,267 incidents, 231 meet the current FBI definition of “Mass Shooting” (3 or more dead). This was over a period of 1,287 days, which works out to be about one every 5.5 days. Out of a population of 300+ million Americans, this means the chances of someone being involved in an “active shooter situation” is extremely remote. Armed with this knowledge, I believe an instant association between the fire alarm and “active shooter” borders on the irrational.
Could it have meant “active shooter?” Yes, because anything is possible. Was it likely? To tell you the truth, an "active shooter" situation in the LA Times building is more likely than that building getting hit by a meteor, which is very, very remote. Should you prepare yourself mentally and physically for such an event? Yes, because being prepared that way will also be of benefit to you in many other situations as well. If you are able to carry a weapon in your state/city, should you? That is something you have to decide, I won’t tell you that you should or shouldn’t. I do believe you should, however, have that option available to you.
Ms. Walke then goes on to mention in passing an article by author Ta-Nehisi Coates titled “the enduring myth of black criminality.” I assure you, I found this intriguing and worthy of much analysis and comment to come later.
The main thrust of Ms. Walke’s article then states:
What we don’t talk about is how the greatest predictor of violence isn’t religion, occupation or race. It’s gender.
In the United States, 98% of those who commit mass shootings are male; 98% of the officers who have shot and killed civilians are male; 90% of those who commit homicide by any means are male; and 80% of those arrested for all violent crimes — murder and non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault — are male.
She then talks about how few times women kill. I will agree with her points here somewhat. Women by and large kill only out of that biological imperative to preserve their offspring. Because they are less strong as men, they use guile and cunning (or superior firepower) to bring their victims to their deaths.
I can only conclude from the main point of the article that “men are the source of all of the violence in the world.” I get the impression that in her perfect world, we must eliminate all testosterone from all men (that evil, aggressive hormone), or failing that, just eliminate men entirely.
This idealized view of men and women belies and denies the base nature of each sex. To ask men not to be aggressive and violent is like asking a hunk of granite rock to not be solid, hard or heavy.
Men for the most part are aggressive and violent only when necessary. Women for the most part are nurturing and communicative. These aspects in isolation do not advance or enhance our progress and society. When these aspects are combined, when we work together, the synergistic effects are fantastic.
I think Ms. Walke and I can agree that unchanneled aggression is where the major problem lies. An elimination of those societal aspects that leaves men idle would be instrumental in the significant decrease of that unwanted aggression.
In 1988, when I was still freshly married to my bride, she demanded that I assist her in preparing our meals. So one evening she called me into the kitchen, handed me a bulb of garlic and a cleaver and told me to crush a couple of cloves. Not knowing the difference between a clove and a bulb, I put the entire bulb down and got ready to crush it. She screamed "NO!!!" then broke off a couple of cloves. Again, not being versed in the Way of the Kitchen, I then exerted my entire force on these cloves of garlic, reducing them to an unusable mess. She banished me from the kitchen at that point.
In 2013, while Junior Warden of my Masonic Lodge, I was carrying out my duties as JW by doing the cooking for my brothers at Lodge meetings. I told them before they elected me to this position, "Many people have eaten my cooking and have gone on to live normal lives." They thought I was joking. I ended up choking on a pork steak I cooked and spent twelve days in the hospital, five of them in ICU. I have a dead leg from my cooking.
Tonight, both my bride and son were unable to prepare dinner. My bride told me to fix some Red Beans and Rice with Bratwurst. Simple, right? So you think...
I was instructed to use two boxes of RB&R, each of which the instructions called for three cups of water. Everything seemed to be going to plan, except that 15 minutes after the called for 35 minute cook time, there was still lots of water in the pot with the RB&R. It was at this point that I realized that the measuring cup I used to measure the water didn't hold one cup, but two... I put twelve cups of water in the pot, not six.
In the end, dinner was overcooked, wet and tasteless RB&R. The brats were just as tasteless, as the beer I added to the water for flavor had boiled off in the extra cook time.
After dumping half of her dinner in the trash, my beautiful bride of twenty-seven years told me, "I would rather starve than eat your cooking again." I'm not sure how I should feel about this...
Warning: if you are easily upset from aggressive words and actions, run away, take refuge in your safe space and don't read this post.
Seriously, if seeing someone get shot or wounded upsets you, your time is better spent elsewhere.
In the wake of the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, I present to you two videos, where lay (untrained) people (an activist and two reporters) go through what are known as "shoot/no-shoot" scenarios. When I had my CCW, I got the opportunity to train with systems like this. It is bone-chilling scary how quickly things can and will go south.
First video, a civil-rights activist and the reporter covering the story go through scenarios with people:
Second video, a reporter uses a system similar to what I used:
These videos should give you a better appreciation on what kind of situations police officers face every day. On how they have fractions of a second to decide who lives and who dies. Hesitation will kill the officer every time. The officer doesn't have the luxury to yell "DO OVER!" and try different methods. Once the perpetrator decides to take aggressive action, it's all instinct and reflexes.
And for those of you who didn't think the guy with a grilling skewer was a threat, the below picture is the kind of things that happen in a knife fight:
If you haven't noticed, I have added some new links to the right.
I added a whole new category, Podcasts. I listen to several of them throughout the week. Follow each of them to their pages, or you can signup using your favorite post cast app.
Under the Miscellaneous listing, I added "Wait But Why" which I discovered listening to a The Art of Charm podcast. This guy thinks like me. When he writes on a subject, he finds multiple sub-subjects that he has to research and explain to support his main point.
In this past week, two men were killed by police on video. Yesterday, a sniper killed five Dallas police officers.
This shit has to stop.
I am going to give some initial commentary on the two men who were killed by police. First, however, I am going to tell you things you may or may not know in your brain, you need to know these things in your heart. I have spoken multiple times about the function of the police, this time I am speaking about the person behind the badge.
A police officer is a human being. This means they are imperfect and can make mistakes. They have the same day-to-day stresses and problems that you and I have.
This officer wants to serve his community. You don't go through a police academy and then strap on body armor as part of your work clothes on a whim.
They want to go home at the end of their shift. This means that they will do whatever to protect themselves as best they can.
Officers are trained to establish control in every encounter. If the officer loses control of a situation, there is a good chance they will be killed. They do this to protect themselves and others. The police also cannot lose a fight, ever. If an officer loses a fight, other officers may pay the price.
With every encounter, the officer takes his life in his hands. a 90 year-old white lady can pull a gun just as fast and render that officer just as dead as a 16 year-old black male. The officer doesn't know if you and your family are out for a drive with your family, or if you and your girlfriend just knocked over a liquor store with the baby sleeping in the car.
When it all goes south, when the fists and bullets start flying, the officer will take it from both sides. From the criminal who wants to kill him, and his political superiors who have the luxury to parse every millisecond of the encounter from their easy chairs. The criminal can only take the officers life. The politician can take his livelihood, his character and his dignity.
Take these to heart.
In both of these cases, not all the facts are out yet. I am commenting on what I do know and what I can infer from what has been presented.
The first man to die, Alton Sterling, was well known to the Baton Rouge PD. Although the officers who responded to the call didn't know Alton, he (Alton) knew he had an 18+ year record and he was wanted for failure to register as a sex offender. People in that kind of position do not welcome any kind of police encounter and will do anything to get out of that situation. This led to a scuffle, then a fight. When you start to be aggressive with the police, there will be an immediate escalation on their part.
It is currently unknown why the officer drew his weapon and shot the man. I'm sure something will come out about what happened.
For the other man, Philando Castile, this man is a polar opposite from Alton Sterling. It sounds like Philando was a fine young man, an upstanding member of his community. It seems his mistake was too much enthusiasm. It seems Philando initially did the right thing, which was to inform the officer up front that he had a weapon. The evidence is currently unclear, but having legally carried a weapon in the past, I am conjecturing that Philando reached for his wallet quickly and/or without the officer telling him to do so. When a person who has a weapon rapidly and without direct orders moves their dominant hand to their hip, it can be for a wallet or a weapon. The officer can only think it can be for a weapon, else the officer will be dead. I can move my hand from the steering wheel, grab the weapon on my hip, clear the holster, bring it to bear on the officer and fire in less than 0.75 seconds. Say this out loud, "one one-thou-" because that's all you're going to get out before I put a bullet in you. At arms length, the officer can only react and that will likely be too late.
In response to these tragic events, a lone gunman decided to shoot multiple people, killing 5 Dallas police officers. Officers who were providing security for a Black Lives Matter rally. You know, where they shout about wanting dead police officers.
I am sad. Sad for both Alton and Philando as well as the wounded and killed in Dalas.
This post will probably not make it to Facebook, this is more of a "housekeeping" post than anything else.
In the 14 months I have ran this blog using the Joomla! CMS, this template has minorly irked me. This was the default font color for basic text in this template. I don't know about you, but that was very hard for me to read. Up until now I have "fixed" it by manually declaring the font color and I had to do it in every post. I finally got fed up with it and dug down deep into the 11,551 files and 3,088 folders (yes, I counted) that comprise this website.
Which leads me to the title of this post. This is one of the things I do well. When pointed to a problem, I can deduce the root cause, trace it to its source and permanently apply a constructive solution. Not many people have the ability to troubleshoot problems of this kind. Usually frustration sets in and they quit and suffer with the issue.
I don't give up. I might yell and curse at my screen, I might take my frustrations out on inanimate objects but I do not give up and I will solve the problem. This particular one took about 6 hours and I found the offending code on line #10 of a file under 3 levels of folders.
More changes are also coming. Research and testing are underway.
Also, it seems that one change that I could not do on my "testbed" (a copy of this website you do not see where I test all potential changes) really screwed up my text editor, necessitating the use of a backup. Hence the prior post was lost. I will rebuild with the same meaning soon.
Over the past few years, information has leaked daily about Hillary Rodham Clinton's email escapades. Let's put this into perspective.
While Secretary of State, Clinton had a private email server in her home. She had zero security on it, making the Internet equivalent of a public message board at your local supermarket as far as anyone could read any messages on it. Because Her Eminence did not want to be bothered with all of the security requirements of her position, she ordered her staff to transcribe highly classified information off a government network that has no connection to the Internet at all and send that highly classified information over an unsecured connection on the Internet to a unsecured server so she could read it.
The information that passed through this unencrypted email server was sensitive beyond belief. Let's just say for a moment that we got into a conflict with Russia or China. The Secretary of State would be a major player in resolving the crisis, so she would have had military and political information (both sides) available to her. Things like what forces were available to both sides, what our objectives were in resolving the crisis and how far we were willing to go in the crisis to reach those objectives. If the bad guys had this information also, don't you think this would give the enemy a great advantage to resolve the issue to their benefit and not ours?
If you don't think that the enemies of the United States weren't reading her emails as fast as she did, I have a bridge in Memphis I want to sell you. Cheap. There is no way professional State-sponsored hackers could miss the existence of this email server and then gain access to it in seconds. Mind you, the last I heard was 110 emails were classified so highly they couldn't even release redacted versions.
Then on June 20th, Bill Clinton met with the Attorney General Loretta Lynch as the two were "passing each other" on the tarmac at the Phoenix airport. Bill was waiting and after she landed, Bill got aboard her aircraft and they had a 30 minute private conversation "just catching up, talking about grandchildren and things like that." There is no way this meeting was by chance. If you believe that, I have another bridge next to the first one I can sell you. Package discount. Considering the importance of AG Lynch, her schedule outside of the Beltway is tightly controlled and regulated. For security reasons, they have to limit her "exposed" time (not in a secured and controlled area) to a minimum. That 30 minutes had to be figured into her schedule.
And today, two weeks after that meeting the FBI releases a statement that they do not recommend any charges against Hillary. Of course AG Lynch will "follow the recommendations of the FBI" and not file any charges against our next presumptive President.
The evidence in the public domain alone against Hillary is the equivalent of her on video executing a citizen just because the citizen dared speak to Her Eminence without permission. Her guilt is unquestionable. A first year law student could successfully prosecute the case. Yet, FBI Director James Comey stated:
"Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information, there is information that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information."
I'm sorry, intent is not the issue. The actions are the relevant issue here. Like a punk street racer, who didn't intend to lose control of his car while racing which caused him to run over and kill an entire Girl Scout Troop, his actions made it clear he did and that punk should face at least manslaughter charges. Likewise, Hillary may not have intended to divulge the deepest secrets of the United States, however her careless actions let that happen. These actions have put every man and women in uniform at a grave unnecessary risk, and compromised the general security of every Citizen of the United States. She needs to be judged by Citizens of this country (because, you, know, no one else is her peer) and tried for her actions.
Not a lot of people have noticed this on a conscious level, but there is a movement afoot for something nefarious. There are long-view plans underway, and many are just falling in line without questioning.
We celebrate holidays like New Year's Day, Martin Luther King Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Veterans Day and Thanksgiving.
And then we have this weekend, The 4th of July. What ever happened to calling it Independence Day?
Someone, somewhere is trying to divest us of this notion of being independent. Because if we think of this holiday as just "The 4th of July," why not make it "The 24th of July?" I have no emotional attachment to the phrase "The 4th of July" but I (and I am sure many of you as well) attach great meaning and significance to the words "Independence Day."
Never before in history had a group of people successfully broken away from the government that had control over them, especially the most powerful country in existence. Never before had a government been formed by the People with the concept that the People told the government what to do, instead of the other way around. A concept that the powers of the government were limited to specific and declared areas and the government was in no way to infringe upon the freedom of the People.
Someone wants us to forget those concepts. Someone wants us to forget our legacy and not think about how our natural condition as citizens of the United States we are not to be unduly encumbered by our government as we perform our daily lives.
Think about that the next time you say "Happy 4th of July."