Friday, December 30, 2011

Overheard on the Scanner

Dispatcher:  I need an available unit to respond to a domestic situation at the Briar Creek Apartments.  Caller is stating that her 11 year old daughter is causing a disturbance.

Officer:  This is 324, clear me from my current message and show me in route.

Supervising Officer:  Dispatch, do we have any indication of what the 11 year old is doing?

Dispatcher:  The only thing in the message is that the daughter is causing a disturbance.

Supervising Officer:  Can you please make contact with the mother and get the specifics.  If she's causing a civil disturbance or in danger of hurting somebody, we'll respond.  Otherwise, if it's a disagreement, let her know we aren't sending anybody.  She's going to have to learn to be a parent.

o-o-o-o-o

I'm not sure if the Supervising Officer was aware of any past history at this address (it sounded like he was), but I was certainly happy to hear his response.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Happy Anniversary!!

14 years ago, I married a woman that was too smart, too beautiful for me and way above my class.  She's still here!  Mi bebe, I am a lucky man!  I love you!






Saturday, December 24, 2011

Gunman

At approximately 7:03p, a man, dressed in black and carrying a loaded handgun, walked into a shopping center. He was not alone. There were three others with him. Being Christmas time, the shopping center was packed with harried shoppers and exhausted employees.

Based on eyewitness reports, the group made its way directly to a particular store. They walked into the packed store, and split up. Three grabbed some clothes, while the gunman stood by the door, keeping an eye on the lines at the registers.

At the appropriate time, the gunman gave a signal and they all approached the closest cashier. The cashier never saw the gun.

Actually, neither did anyone else. I was carrying concealed. We got our shopping done, stopped by the bookstore and then escaped home.

Well, whaddya know?!? A man with a gun walks into a store, and the only thing hurt was his wallet.

Overheard on the Scanner

Dispatcher: 235, I need you to respond to Big Store. I'm not sure this counts as a suspicious situation, but I'm going to read what's on the screen.

There's a call about a child in a shopping cart screaming to his parents that he wants to go home.

-o-o-o-

I thought, well, I can't really blame the kid. It's Christmas eve; I'd want to go home, too.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Hmmm....

I just received an email that Dillon has shipped my press (or at least the skeleton I sent them) back. I'm not sure what, if anything, they did to it. They never contacted me for their money, so, I'm not quite sure what happened.

I purchased some bullets online and those should arrive next week. A local gun store has decent prices on powder and primers, so I've got those as well.

The reloading manuals should arrive soon. Once all that gets here, I'll be ready to go.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Quote for the Week

To me, a lawyer is basically the person that knows the rules of the country. We're all throwing the dice, playing the game, moving our pieces around the board, but if there is a problem the lawyer is the only person who has read the inside of the top of the box.

Jerry Seinfeld

Friday, December 16, 2011

[ ]

Just found out that a friend/colleague passed away suddenly.

I was an inexperienced attorney when I met him, and I learned a lot from him, even though we were always on the opposite sides of the table.  He wasn't an attorney, but in negotiations, he always represented his employer well.  He was never condescending, and even when his side held all the cards, he was always fair (even if I didn't agree with the result, I had to admit, it was fair).  And, when we held all the cards, he would be the first to admit it.  Of course, during those conflicts where there was no clear edge, even in the thick of the fight, he never played dirty.

He had retired several years ago, so we hadn't kept in touch as much as we should have. The last time we went out to lunch, he took me to a restaurant downtown, simply because I had once spoken about wanting to go there but had never had the chance.  There, we talked about his plans for the future, his business, and his family.  Then, we talked about what I was doing.  Even after retirement, he was always ready to help with a piece of advice or an answer to a question.

Not being one to stay still, he got himself a business partner and started another business.  This afternoon, my receptionist came into my office.

"There a man who's here to see you.  He says his name is ______."  

It's the business partner.  I wrapped up what I was doing and went to say hi.

"I have some bad news," he says...

Rest in peace, friend.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Stacked

As a licensed attorney, I'm required to take classes to keep my legal knowledge up to date.

Today, I'm sitting in a class about firearms law. The teaching panel is composed of gun rights lobbyists and attorneys. One of the attorneys taking the class just commented, "I'm sure this'll be objective."

Hehe...

Monday, December 12, 2011

Reloading Update

Well, the Dillon Square Deal is on its way to Dillon for refurbishing and the rest of my Christmas gift has been ordered.

I started saving my brass and I have a couple of sandwich bags filled up. I've got some .40S&W, .45ACP, .38 Sp, and some 9mm.  Not enough to set the world on fire, but enough to start getting my feet wet.  I just have to clean them and then start gathering the rest of the components, while I wait for the press.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Quote for the Week

It's important to know that words don't move mountains. Work, exacting work moves mountains.

Danilo Dolci

Friday, December 9, 2011

Now I feel Old

40 Things That Will Make You Feel Old.

I'm going to get my cane now.  And where did I leave that box of Just for Men?

H/T to Karyn via Facebook

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Quote for the Week

No kingdom can be secured otherwise than by arming the people. The possession of arms is the distinction between a freeman and a slave. He, who has nothing, and who himself belongs to another, must be defended by him, whose property he is, and needs no arms. But he, who thinks he is his own master, and has what he can call his own, ought to have arms to defend himself, and what he possesses; else he lives precariously, and at discretion.


James Burgh

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Taking the Plunge

I've finally decided to stop talking about reloading ammo and actually do it.  I've read many articles and blog posts trying to make a decision as to what press to buy, and what equipment I need.  I'm only slightly less confused than when I started.  (That's not really saying much; it's not that hard to confuse me.)

So, I'm asking for a press for Christmas.  Now, I just have to chose what kind and brand.  I'm searching Craigslist and the local trading paper.

I did manage to score a Dillon Square Deal press for almost free, but it's missing most of the components, and parts of what's left may be broken, since the lever does not move.  My first step will be to compare it with pictures of a new press and look at a parts list to see what I need to make this thing work, if possible.

Or, see if I can get a used one for a good price.

Either way, it's about time, I guess.

Friday, December 2, 2011

A Moment of Silence


Herman Cain is supposed to talk to his wife today about “helping” Ginger White, a friend of 13 years, without his wife’s knowledge.  This after he apparently offered to "help many" other ladies around him.

He’s going to get beat like congas at a salsa music fest.

Mr. Cain:

1.  For the first 24 hours, apply ice to any bruised areas.
2.  If possible, keep the area elevated.  For the inevitable black eye, prop your head with pillows.  (You're going to want to sleep with your eyes open anyway).
3.  Then, apply warm compresses to the bruised areas.  If the pain is so much that the whole body feels like a bruised area, just soak yourself in a warm bath.  But lock the bathroom door and put something up against it so she can't come in.  I would hate to hear you "slipped" in the bathtub.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Confession: Occupy Cruise Ship

Ok, so my immovable deadline was an upcoming vacation.  It was the first true vacation in about 15 years, since I was unable to do any work.  My family and I were on a cruise ship for about a week, with no cell phone coverage or email access.  We had a wonderful time and brought back some memories and stories.

Here's what was waiting for me yesterday.  Another pile showed up this morning.



I'll be back when I come up for air.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.

Psalm 107:1

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Quote for the Week

One should rather die than be betrayed. There is no deceit in death. It delivers precisely what it has promised. Betrayal, though ... betrayal is the willful slaughter of hope.


Steven Deitz

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Crickets

Sorry about the light posting.  I'm under an unforgiving deadline, and that's pretty much taking up all of my time.  Please do me a favor and click some of the links to the right.  They're much better bloggers than I am.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Quote for the Week

...There's no such thing as a good gun. There's no such thing as a bad gun. A gun in the hands of a bad man is a very dangerous thing. A gun in the hands of a good person is no danger to anyone except the bad guys.

Charlton Heston

Friday, November 11, 2011

Thank You

The Monsters and the Weak

The sun beat like a hammer, not a cloud was in the sky.
The mid-day air ran thick with dust, my throat was parched and dry.
With microphone clutched tight in hand and cameraman in tow,
I ducked beneath a fallen roof, surprised to hear "stay low."

My eyes blinked several times before in shadow I could see,
the figure stretched across the rubble, steps away from me.
He wore a cloak of burlap strips, all shades of grey and brown,
that hung in tatters till he seemed to melt into the ground.

He never turned his head or took his eye from off the scope,
but pointed through the broken wall and down the rocky slope.
"About eight hundred yards," he said, his whispered words concise,
"beneath the baggy jacket he is wearing a device."

A chill ran up my spine despite the swelter of the heat,
"You think he's gonna set it off along the crowded street?"
The sniper gave a weary sigh and said "I wouldn't doubt it,"
"unless there's something this old gun and I can do about it."

A thunderclap, a tongue of flame, the still abruptly shattered;
while citizens that walked the street were just as quickly scattered.
Till only one remained, a body crumpled on the ground,
The threat to oh so many ended by a single round.

And yet the sniper had no cheer, no hint of any gloat,
instead he pulled a logbook out and quietly he wrote.
"Hey, I could put you on TV, that shot was quite a story!"
But he surprised me once again -- "I got no wish for glory."

"Are you for real?" I asked in awe, "You don't want fame or credit?"
He looked at me with saddened eyes and said "you just don't get it."
"You see that shot-up length of wall, the one without a door?
before a mortar hit, it used to be a grocery store."

"But don't go thinking that to bomb a store is all that cruel,
the rubble just across the street -- it used to be a school.
The little kids played soccer in the field out by the road,"
His head hung low, "They never thought a car would just explode."

"As bad as all this is though, it could be a whole lot worse,"
He swallowed hard, the words came from his mouth just like a curse.
"Today the fight's on foreign land, on streets that aren't my own,"
"I'm here today 'cause if I fail, the next fight's back at home."

"And I won't let my Safeway burn, my neighbors dead inside,
don't wanna get a call from school that says my daughter died;
I pray that not a one of them will know the things I see,
nor have the work of terrorists etched in their memory."

"So you can keep your trophies and your fleeting bit of fame,
I don't care if I make the news, or if they speak my name."
He glanced toward the camera and his brow began to knot,
"If you're looking for a story, why not give this one a shot."

"Just tell the truth of what you see, without the slant or spin;
that most of us are OK and we're coming home again.
And why not tell our folks back home about the good we've done,
how when they see Americans, the kids come at a run."

You tell 'em what it means to folks here just to speak their mind,
without the fear that tyranny is just a step behind;
Describe the desert miles they walk in their first chance to vote,
or ask a soldier if he's proud, I'm sure you'll get a quote."

He turned and slid the rifle in a drag bag thickly padded,
then looked again with eyes of steel as quietly he added;
"And maybe just remind the few, if ill of us they speak,
that we are all that stands between the monsters and the weak."

Michael Mark
s

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Situational Awareness



Keep your eyes open and your head on a swivel, folks.

Thankfully, the thief was caught, but I'm sure the incident was no fun for the woman.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Quote for the Week

Once we roared like lions for liberty; now we bleat like sheep for security! The solution for America's problem is not in terms of big government, but it is in big men over whom nobody stands in control but God.

Norman Vincent Peale

H/T Mike W.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Quote for the Week

Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.

-Thomas A. Edison

Friday, October 28, 2011

53%

So much talk and ink has gone to talk about those who are the 99% o the 1%. 

We are the 53%.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

New Life

About 15 months ago, my computer hard drive did its awful best to end its life.  Since, for me, hope sometimes springs eternal, I did not dispose of the drive.  I got estimates for data recovery and tried different DIY methods to recover the data.  None of these were successful or practical.  Recently, after burning through the third hard drive, I took my laptop in for repairs.  I found someone in the neighborhood, with good online reviews.

On Saturday morning, I took the laptop in, and also included the old hard-drive, explaining the history.  I wasn't sure if he would need it for the post-mortem.

That evening, I got a call from him.  He needed to talk me.  Uh oh.

I drove to his place and, there, on his table, was my laptop, running.  The good news was that it was working again.  The bad news is that he could not guarantee how long it would last.  But then, there was more news.  The old hard drive is definitely kaput.  Fried.  However...he was able to recover all the data, about 32G worth.  He wanted to know if I wanted the data.  I think I drove home to get the external drive and came back before he was done with the question.  All this for less than the price of a family night out at Olive Garden.

Sunday afternoon, I picked up the external drive and drove home. I plugged it in and immediately started looking for one folder in particular.

Book

There it was.  Character sketches, outlines, descriptions, and pages of text.  I was up way past bedtime just getting back into the groove of writing.  It was good to immerse myself into the life of the character.  When I lost the data, I did not even know where to start.  I didn't have the energy to start over.  Now, it's like the book, and character, have been given a new life.

Here we go

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

What??

One of my staff just asked if it was bad that she didnt know who Gaddafi was. 

I told her, "Yes, it's very bad!  You need to be put in time out and beat!"

Seriously, people, how the heck are we supposed to affect the world if we care more for the Kardashians or the antics of that Lohan chick than we do about what is happening in the part of the world that just happens to house our worst enemies.

Un Gran Señor

I can't get this song out of my head, and that's not a bad thing.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Not Good

It’s been a long weekend, and yesterday was another long day.


This morning, I get to the office and put my stuff on my desk.  I make it to the break room and start the coffee brewing. Back at my desk, I log in and review the calendar. After reviewing what’s ahead, I need my coffee. I reach for the coffee cup and head to the break room to brew the coffee. At the break room, I look at the coffee maker, a bit confused. I already brewed it? I go to put the cup down, but it looks like I never actually grabbed it. I trudge back to my office and stare at the desk for a minute. Why did I come back? Where is my coffee? Why is my cup still on my desk?

I happen to look down at my feet. I’m wearing mismatched shoes.

Is this day over yet?

Is it Friday yet?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Quote for the Week

I learned that you should feel when writing, not like Lord Byron on a mountain top, but like a child stringing beads in kindergarten - happy, absorbed and quietly putting one bead on after another.

Brenda Ueland

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Occupy Wall Street

I want to give the OWS crowd some music to keep them company while they protest, well, you know ... bad stuff and ... stuff.



I turn on the tube and what do I see

A whole lotta people cryin' 'don't blame me'
They point their crooked little fingers ar everybody else
Spend all their time feelin' sorry for themselves
Victim of this, victim of that
Your momma's too thin; your daddy's too fat

Get over it
Get over it
All this whinin' and cryin' and pitchin' a fit
Get over it, get over it

You say you haven't been the same since you had your little crash
But you might feel better if I gave you some cash
The more I think about it, old billy was right
Let's kill all the lawyers, kill 'em tonight*
You don't want to work, you want to live like a king
But the big, bad world doesn't owe you a thing

Get over it
Get over it
If you don't want to play, then you might as well split
Get over it, get over it

It's like going to confession every time I hear you speak
You're makin' the most of your losin' streak
Some call it sick, but I call it weak

You drag it around like a ball and chain
You wallow in the guilt; you wallow in the pain
You wave it like a flag, you wear it like a crown
Got your mind in the gutter, bringin' everybody down
Complain about the present and blame it on the past
I'd like to find your inner child and kick it's little ass

Get over it
Get over it
All this bitchin' and moanin' and pitchin' a fit
Get over it, get over it

Get over it
Get over it
It's gotta stop sometime, so why don't you quit
Get over it, get over it



*In the interest of self-preservation, please disregard this line.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Billy Madison Goes to Court

Factac v. King

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Quote for the Week

Have the courage to say no. Have the courage to face the truth. Do the right thing because it is right. These are the magic keys to living your life with integrity. 

W. Clement Stone

Friday, October 14, 2011

Phone Booths

The walls inside the courthouse are an endless maze of cinder block and institutional paint, designs of an era long ago when architecture was more function than form. The walls meet the linoleum floor with a faded cove molding, scuffed by the shoes that have rested there, perhaps while waiting for their turn.

And yet, there they are. Built into the wall, next to the courtroom, they look completely out of place now. Two identical phone booths, showing their age. Wrapped in wood, it’s as if the booths are straining to provide elegance, yet not quite doing so. For each, there is a wood and glass sliding door, and a vent above the doorway, placed high enough to at least provide the illusion of privacy. Scratched into the doorway are several messages, including an optimistic, “Frank loves Mary” framed in a roughly scratched heart.

A bench sticks out of the side, but looks barely big enough to do the job. There is a small shelf opposite that, perhaps for papers, or for resting an elbow while trying to make sense of what happens inside those imposing courtroom doors.

Right above the shelf, the framework for the phone is still there, but now it is little more than a metal box, with holes where the important parts once lived. Through the holes, I see wires, neatly tied off—wires that once carried words, hopes, and emotions, but now represent only dead ends, waiting to be permanently removed.

As I wait for my client, my mind wanders. What stories can that booth tell? So often, I wander these halls, waiting for my client, mentally reviewing the case, having reduced it to legal elements to be presented. Over time, the case becomes a problem to be solved, a puzzle to be put together. Of course, it’s better that way because, then, emotions won’t cloud my judgment. But still, looking at that phone booth, I’m reminded of the reasons why people stand against that wall.

I don’t judge the reasons people come to see me. I’m not in their shoes. I’m not wearing their scars. For many of my clients, this is not where they wanted to be, but it is where they are now. Family court is really an oxymoron, if you think about it. Many times, this is where families come to die. Families come in, pieces go (sometimes crawl) out. This is where friendships and partnerships come to confirm suspicions of broken promises and abused trust. For all the talk of separation, divorce, alienation, growing apart, it’s all really talk until I turn around and hand them the document that officially confirms the end. They have paid the price; I have just served to walk them through the end.

And, so, I wonder. What conversations have taken place in that booth? What fears has it heard before the court session opens? What grief or perhaps relief has it heard afterwards? Were there any children hanging nearby, perhaps oblivious to what is going on? How many wadded-up pieces of tissue have been picked up off its floor? How many times has the phone booth door slammed? Does Frank still love Mary?

As my client approaches, I look at the phone booth one more time and think, “What if you could talk?” Of course, there is no answer. It just stares back, empty, with nothing but dead wires inside.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

LET'S PROTEST!!! Wait...Why Are We Here??

It's been humorous to see the Occupy Whatever Street We Can Find gatherings over the country.  I'm sure they mean well (mostly) and hope to change the world by ...  well, who knows?  It looks like they don't.

Four Characteristics of a Good Protest

Confusion of goals and perfection of means seems, in my opinion, to characterize our age. - Albert Einstein

Monday, October 10, 2011

Flipping a Switch

I read the intake form in front of me and prepare for the initial consultation.  "My spouse wants a divorce, ..."   Usually, the unspoken second half of that statement typically is, "but I don't."

Yet, want and need are two different things.

I walk into the conference room.  It's a young woman.  Her eyes are red.  Married for a few years, she says her husband has changed.  Some time ago, he said he wanted a divorce and started packing his stuff.  She just about fell apart.  She begged him to stay, promised him the moon, and even started going to counseling.  Things were better for some time.  And yet, every now and then, he would bring it up, and throw her off balance again.  Every time, she would react, make some other change, and try harder.  But, although she could not feel it at first, every time he threatened divorce, a part of her trust died.  Sadly, what he interpreted as successful manipulation was actually a slow death.

Every time he brought it up, she was forced to mentally prepare for a life without him.  How would the bills be paid?  Who would take care of their little girl while she worked?  Though there was no way for him to notice, the more he brought it up, the more defined her plans became. 
Then, the switch flipped.

This time, when he threatened to pack his bags, she helped him.  When he said he wanted a divorce, she said, "You're getting your divorce.  I'm meeting with the attorney tomorrow."

Silence.  Shock.  And yet, pride would not allow him to back down.  He took his bags and left.

Now, he's the one promising the moon, counseling, and anything else he can think of.  Her response is simple.  "You forced me to learn to live without you.  You complained so much you actually convinced me that you would be happier without me.  You can't come back.  I want you to be happy."

She reaches for the box of tissues and wipes the tears.  She looks at me and says, "I can't waste any more time.  I gave it my all, but I can't stay in this relationship and run the chance that in a month or five years, he'll pull the same thing.  I love him, but I'm done.  I'm surprised at how strong I am.  Since he's left, I'm finally at peace.  I've made up my mind."

She adds, "I don't want this divorce.  But, I need it."

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Quote for the Week

In the information society, nobody thinks. We expect to banish paper, but we actually banish thought.

-Michael Chrichton

Friday, October 7, 2011

No Time

Whose woods these are I think I know

His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
And miles to go before I sleep.

-Robert Frost

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Quote for the Week

Truth is generally the best vindication against slander.

Abraham Lincoln

Monday, September 26, 2011

Exposing Tea Party Racism

Recent results in Florida show that the Tea Party is one of the most racist and racially divisive organizations ever to exist.  Think about it:  they endorsed Alan West for US Congress.  Even more shocking they just voted for Herman Cain in a straw poll.  Can you believe that?!  That's just more proof that the Tea Party is all about older Caucasians.

Wait, aren't Mr. West and Mr. Cain both African Americans?! Hmmm... A simple Google search will find other instances of minority candidates endorsed or selected by the Tea Party.  Really...

Given my ethnicity (Hispanic), many people just assume that I am a Democrat.  Then again, I'm not a die-hard Republican either.  Believe it or not, I am capable of independent thought.  I do not choose a candidate based on their political affiliation, nor do I choose one based on color or ethnicity.  If a candidate wants my vote, they have to earn it.  Likewise, once elected, no candidate gets a pass from me simply because of their party or their ethnicity.

I often find myself agreeing with basic Tea Party principles of limited government, limited taxation, and personal freedoms.  But, based on comments I hear/read from friends, the simple fact that I agree with some Tea Party princples means I'm racist.  The fact that I disagree with our President 99.99% of the time (margin of error ± 0.01%) means that I have a problem with his ethnicity .  Really??!!  Do you not know me?  Or better yet, do you know every Tea Party member to be able to say that with certainty?

If you don't know me, yet judge me anyways, shame on you.  I believe judging before you know me is called pre-judging -(also known as prejudice).  If you do know me, I challenge you to point out one verifiable* instance of racism.  Just one.

Don't you get upset when people lump all African Americans together?  When they do that with Hispanics?  When they do that with Caucasians?  Oh wait, never mind, calling all Caucasians racists is acceptable.

Listen, next time someone claims that a party or candidate is racist.  Ask for proof.  And, if there's no proof, and yet, you still repeat the drivel, you're no better than the worst thing you claim they are.


*And yes, I did qualify by asking for a verifiable incident.  The word "racist" has been cheapened so much that a simple disagreement can be labeled racist.  Look at my life.  Look at who surrounds me.  Let my actions decide.  I agree with a lot of the Tea Party?  Am I racist?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Quote for the Week

All the mistakes I ever made were when I wanted to say ‘No’ and said ‘Yes.’

~ Moss Hart

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Words That Don't Usually Go Together

I'm really not used to seeing the words "car bomb" and some US city in the same sentence.  So, I had to do a double take when I read recent headlines claiming a car bomb in Monroe, MI injured a father and his two sons.

Based on what I have read, it appears that the victims were a lawyer, Erik Chappell, and his 11 and 13 year old sons.  The device appears to have been placed in the front center of the car, for maximum effect.  While it appears that Mr. Chappell has been released from the hospital, I don't believe his sons have.  From the reports I have read, the sons are in stable condition and in good spirits.

Truth be told, I don't see my job as being a dangerous job.  There are other jobs that are a lot more dangerous than mine.  Of course, having a "safe" job also depends on assuming everyone around me will behave.  That's something that cannot be guaranteed.

The lesson I take from this incident is that, whether I have a dangerous job or not, it always pays to be alert, aware, and prepared.  I don't know if this attorney could have done anything different to avoid/prepare for this.  Based only on the information I have, I doubt it.  I do know that his habits will be different going forward.  Something like this is profoundly life changing.  My prayers go out for swift physical and emotional healing, for wisdom for investigators, and for justice.


And while I also continue to pray for safety for my family and me, I'll also do my part and work to be prepared.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Hello?

I'm sitting in a bankruptcy hearing room waiting for my case to be called. The trustee's monotone voice is rattling off question after question, while the debtors on the hot seat answer nervously. The rest of the room is silent.

A cell phone rings. I look around the room to make sure it's not my clients. In the far back of the room, a lady is fumbling with her purse. Unfortunately, it's one of those ringtones that gets louder the more it rings. As the melody of the ringtone gets everyone's attention, we all expect her to turn it off so we can keep going.

She finally finds the phone, hits a button, and the phone stops ringing. Then, she puts it up to her ear and says, "Hello? Hey! How are you?"

??!!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Quote for the Week

Beware of him that is slow to anger; for when it is long coming, it is the stronger when it comes, and the longer kept. Abused patience turns to fury.

Francis Quarles

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Shopping Miranda Rights

Shopping rights for my daughters:

You have the right to remain silent.

Anything you grab can and will be put back for you.

Even if you choose not to remain silent, you should still choose to stop asking for stuff at any time.

You have the right to use your own money during any purchasing.

If you cannot afford it, it will be returned to the shelf for you at no additional cost.

Do you understand these rights?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

15 Years

Today, at approximately 6:40 am, to the delight of my wife, our 15-year old Sharp Carousel microwave gave up the ghost with a sickening groan.

A moment of silence please.

Honey, stop laughing.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Happy Birthday to My Beautiful Wife!



I love you and I'm so grateful you have allowed me to be part of your life!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Still in Need of a Vacation

Thought process:

1. Wash out coffee mug so that it is ready for tomorrow.
2. I want to drink some orange juice.
3. I’ll need to get a disposable cup for the orange juice. That way I don’t have to clean the mug again.

What I do:
1. Head to employee break room and wash out coffee mug.
2. Grab disposable cup from break room supply closet.
3. Head back to my office with clean mug and cup.
4. Reach into my small refrigerator and take out bottle of orange juice.
5. Pour orange juice into clean coffee mug and place both bottle and mug on desk.
6. Place clean, empty disposable cup into refrigerator.
7. Work for several minutes.
8. Stare at orange juice bottle, confused. I thought I put that thing away?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remembering

I posted this last year, but I thought I would repost my thoughts 10 years ago.

---

I'm not even sure I'm awake. I'm trying to shake the fog out of my head, it's not even 9am yet. The owner of the firm, Dave, walks into my office and quietly says, “I'm sorry to bother you so early, but you may want to say a short prayer. There's been some kind of major accident in New York.” I grunt a response and look back down at my file.

Something is nagging at me, though.

I turn to my computer and pull up some news websites. Well, I try. I'm not sure what's going on, but it must be big. All the news sites are down. Dave comes back in, “It's a plane. They say some kind of plane has crashed into a building.” The hairs on my arm stand on end.

I turn on my radio and try to find a news station. Another employee walks in. Her face is pale. “Another plane has crashed into the World Trade Center in New York.”

My throat is suddenly dry. “I know. Dave told me.”

“No, its another plane. Into the other building.” She's fighting her emotions. And losing.

I try to swallow. Stupid websites! Why can't I pull anything up? I find a radio station and my life changes.

Dave and I look at each other. I don't remember who, but one of us decides to cancel all appointments for the day. The receptionists are sent to the task. There is a dark silence in the air.

I have to get home.

It's only a few minutes away, but no matter how hard I push the accelerator, the car does not want to move. There are three stop lights, and today, they stay red forever.

I finally make it to the apartment, taking up two spaces as I park. There's no one outside. I run up the stairs, two and three at a time. I pound on the door while trying to fit the key in the lock. The key is three sizes too big. Did someone change the lock?

My wife, holding my 5 month old daughter, comes running to the door. My two year old is playing on the floor.

No greeting, no fanfare. “Have you talked to your sisters?” I can barely get the question out.

“No, why?”

“Call them. There's been some kind of accident in New York.”

“What is it?” She's impatient, and my mouth can't speak as fast as my mind is moving.

“Baby, you have to turn on the television. I think it's bad. I've got to get back to the office.”

I grab the small TV from the spare room, yank the cord from the wall, and rummage through a drawer to find the old rabbit ear antenna. I jump down the stairs. I barely make the last step, almost falling. I throw the TV in the car and race back to work.

I get to the office and bring the TV into the conference room. Everyone follows me in. I plug it in and try to adjust the rabbit ears. Stupid TV. Why won't it work? Do we have cable in here?

Finally, I bring up a snowy, grainy news broadcast. I move the antenna around, trying to get a better picture. All of us are gathered around that small television, with different degrees of disbelief registered in our faces.

Then, we see the buildings begin to collapse. Behind me, someone screams out in horror and begins sobbing loudly. It's contagious. As the buildings collapse, most of us have tears in our eyes. All I can think about is the thousands of people who are in those buildings. I can't see them, yet the knot in my stomach is paralyzing. I am watching people die.

After an eternity, I walk back to my office. My feet weigh a hundred pounds each and I feel like I'm walking through mud. I sit in my chair and stare. I don't know what I'm looking at, but it doesn't matter. My eyes can't focus anyway. I keep replaying the sight of those buildings collapsing.

So much changed that day. So much will never be the same.

I was not there. I lost no relatives or friends that day. But, I lost something just the same.

We have grieved. There was time for that. We have nursed our anger. There was time for that as well. But, eventually, it's time to put the tissues down, take the bandages off, and take our post, ever vigilant, at the guard tower. Freedom worth having is freedom worth protecting. At all costs.

They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.
Benjamin Franklin

Never forget.

Quote for the Week

Freedom itself was attacked this morning by a faceless coward, and freedom will be defended.

George W. Bush

Friday, September 9, 2011

Glad I'm Not These People

Morris, Et Al v. Coker, Et Al

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Light Blogging this Week

Hafta bring home the bacon, you know.  Here is the file for a case I have tomorrow morning.



Hopefully, it will be a simple hearing.  You never know, though.  I still have to make sure I know everything that is in there.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Quote for the Week

In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. From time to time we've been tempted to believe that society has become too complex to be managed by self-rule, that government by an elite group is superior to government for, by, and of the people. Well, if no one among us is capable of governing himself, then who among us has the capacity to govern someone else?

- Ronald Reagan

Friday, September 2, 2011

Greatest Hits, Part III

So, it seems that Officer Harless continues delivering the hits.

http://www.newsnet5.com/dpp/news/local_news/investigations/canton-police-officer-placed-on-leave-cleared-in-18-internal-complaints-3rd-dash-cam-video-released

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

After




We made it through the hurricane unscathed.  We never even lost power.  Of course, I have countless friends who are still without power, and there are people I don't know who have lost much more.  Our prayers are with those recovering from, and in some cases, mourning for, losses from the storm.



Monday, August 29, 2011

Quote for the Week

A hurricane is kind of like an elephant - it can go just about anywhere it pleases.

Cliff Lusk

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Quote for the Week

It is better to meet danger than to wait for it. He that is on a lee shore, and foresees a hurricane, stands out to sea and encounters a storm to avoid a shipwreck.

Charles Caleb Colton

Friday, August 26, 2011

Tied Down

Well folks, not sure how big this hurricane will be.  I pray everyone in its path will be safe and and suffer minimal, if any, losses.  I've been through more hurricanes than I care to (or even can) remember.  Some have been little more than interruptions to the day, while others have gotten my attention.

The last one like this that came to visit left us without power for a week.  The only loss we had was food gone bad.  Hopefully, Irene will be a much better behaved guest, though I seriously doubt it.  She appears to be much bigger, a lot angrier, and is headed right up our driveway.

So, for the moment, I'm signing off.  I have one last errand to run, and then we'll be tying down and waiting this thing out.  The Sunday quote is set to auto-post, but after that, my next time online will depend on God, the power company, and a 1,000 mile wide lady with an attitude, Irene.

Stay safe folks, and see you on the other side.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Earthquake Update

I know some of the pictures in the news have been dramatic as they detail the devastation of the earthquake, so I wanted to reassure friends and family that, in spite of the damage, we are all ok.

I did take some pictures of the aftermath here.


 This apple was standing upright prior to the earthquake.
I think it may have rolled a bit before coming to a stop.


 
This highlighter was on the desk.  Experts estimate it
fell for approximately 30 inches before hitting the ground.
I am checking it for damage prior to using it again.  The
picture is blurry because I took it during one of the aftershocks.


The first vertical blind on the left did not fully return to its
normal resting position after earthquake was over.

 
In spite of all these setbacks, we will survive.  This is America, after all. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

About the Earthquake

To those affected, I apologize.  I tripped and stumbled into the wall.  I didn't realize you would feel it as far as you did.  I'm going home and getting on the treadmill. 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Quote for the Week

A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.

Charles Spurgeon

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Coming Up for Air

What an incredibly busy week!  My wife is out of town until Sunday afternoon, and the other full-time attorney in the office is on vacation.  To add to the mess, I'm working today.  I'm extremely grateful to have a job, but this has been a week of long days.  I'm not complaining, just glad I see the light at the end of the tunnel.  No gun range for me this week, but I should be able to fix that for next weekend.

Whew!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Overheard on the Scanner

Officer, I'm on the corner of A and B streets.  I just got stopped by a concerned citizen who says there is a brush fire back in a yard in this neighborhood.  Concerned citizen says there is a dirt road at the end of B street that leads to about four or five houses.  One of the houses has a barn next to it.  The brush fire is next to the barn and is a danger to the barn.

Dispatch.  Copy.

[A few seconds later]

Dispatch:  [Assigning several rescue vehicles], Report of a brush fire on the corner of A and B street.  There's about four or five houses there.  The fire is a danger to burn down a barn.

[Rescue vehicles check in and confirm assignment.  One vehicle takes command]

[A few minutes later]

Vehicle:  Dispatch, this is Engine 1.  I'm on scene at the corner of A and B streets.  Do you have any more information on this fire?

Dispatch:  Let me check.  [Repeats information given in initial dispatch]

Vehicle:  I'm here and I don't see anything.

[A few more minutes go by]

Vehicle 2:  Dispatch, I found the fire.  It's a small brush fire, definitely a danger to the barn.  All units, this is at the end of B street.  There is a dirt road that goes past some houses.  The fire is at the end, behind one of the houses.

[Some time later]

Vehicle 2:  Fire is under control, all units not on scene can clear.

-0-0-0-0-0-

Now, I'm not trying to knock the dispatchers.  I'm sure this was an anomaly.  The dispatcher was getting the information from an officer, who had received it from someone who was passing by.  The information got muddled along the way, and may have been inaccurate in the first place.  But, the directions given by the dispatcher were not entirely accurate based on the call by the officer.  If I ever need the assistance of first responders, I hope they get my address right.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Politics of the Petty

Recently, it seems as if we read more articles and see more reports based on quirks and verbal mistakes of elected/campaigning officials. I guess the press just thinks we are idiots. Rather than foster a dialogue on the issues, they’re more willing to get into name calling and divisive reporting. I think they believe that’s what we want.

Are we really that stupid? Are we really making electoral decisions based on a 10 second sound bite or a millisecond expression caught on camera? Or do they just think so. There must be something there, I guess. The media exists to make money, just like any other business. So, are they dishing this crap because they think we’re buying it?

How much effort do we place in choosing a candidate? Do you know more about the Kardashians than you do your elected representative? Do you know more about the stats of your favorite team than you do how your elected representative voted recently?

Newsweek uses an unflattering image of a candidate for their cover. Why? I thought we were supposed to base decisions on more than looks. The press lambastes a candidate because she mixed up Elvis’s birthday and anniversary of death. Why? Frankly, I don’t give a flying flip about Elvis when it comes to politics. I’d rather know her views on what matters to me. This morning, I heard a lengthy report on television about some of Governor Perry’s verbal mix-ups. Who cares?! What are his views? That’s what's important to me!

Next time you hear or read a report about a candidate, think about it. Are they discussing the issues or are they attacking the candidate. That will give you a clue as to how intelligent the reporter thinks you are.

I don’t base my decisions on what some editor thinks I should consider. Neither should you. It’s no longer the politics of position. It’s the politics of the petty.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
- Dr. Martin Luther King






Sunday, August 14, 2011

Quote for the Week

Many of us spend half our time wishing for things we could have if we didn't spend half our time wishing.

- Alexander Woollcott

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Overheard on the Scanner

Dispatch: 235, I need you to respond to [address]. Caller says her boyfriend is assaulting her. She says she doesn't understand why he is there since the protective order against him doesn't expire for another couple of days.




-Hmm... I guess it was more of a protective suggestion than a protective order as far as he was concerned.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Dignity of Being Trusted With Your Own Defense

The United Kingdom has deemed its subjects* incapable of being trusted with firearms for personal defense.  Of course, none of this should matter.  It is after all, a safe country.   In fact, the Brady Bunch (or the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, as they prefer to be called), in one of their propoganda posters, slyly imply that England is safer than the US since it has less gun deaths.  According to their spin, the UK is safe.

Or, maybe not.

Britain's violent crime record is worse than any other country in the European union, it has been revealed. Official crime figures show the UK also has a worse rate for all types of violence than the U.S. and even South Africa - widely considered one of the world's most dangerous countries.

Daily Mail, July 3, 2009

Fast forward to today, when several cities are now in the grip of escalating rioting and violence.  If you're in the UK and are caught up in the riot, what can you do?  You can't use a gun to defend yourself.  Well, you can always order an aluminum bat off of Amazon.  If I were you, I'd pay a bit more for expedited shipping.



*And yes, I used the word "subjects."  If you depend solely on the government for your complete protection, you are not governed.  You are ruled.

Not a blacksmith could be found in the whole land of Israel, because the Philistines had said, “Otherwise the Hebrews will make swords or spears!” So all Israel went down to the Philistines to have their plow points, mattocks, axes and sickles sharpened. The price was two-thirds of a shekel for sharpening plow points and mattocks, and a third of a shekel for sharpening forks and axes and for repointing goads. So on the day of the battle not a soldier with Saul and Jonathan had a sword or spear in his hand; only Saul and his son Jonathan had them.

1 Samuel 13:19-22

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Quote for the Week

Unfortunately, our history has abundant examples of patriotism being used to hurt those who express views in disagreement with that of the majority.

Vic Snyder

Friday, August 5, 2011

Just Say No

Dave Ramsey goes on a rant regarding co-signing.  He takes a few swipes at Congress and POTUS as well.

Link.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Saving Money

I'm sitting in a bankruptcy hearing listening to a pro se case. A pro se case is one where the filer is not represented by an attorney. This lady found the forms online and filled them out herself.

By not using an attorney, she has likely saved herself about $1,000.

However, due to a quirk in our state's laws, she is about to lose $6,000 in assets and has no idea. Not only does she not have any idea, she only has a few days to find out and get it right. She doesn't know that either.

Apparently, there are also several things wrong with her filing, because the court has issued a "show cause" asking her to defend herself against a possible contempt charge. She has no idea what that means, and has moved, so it appears that she is not getting letters from the court. A hearing date has been set for that, but again, she says she knows nothing about it.

Finally, she filed a separate motion with the court and was granted a hearing date. She is supposed to file a notice of the hearing. She has not done so and will soon run out of time. She filed that motion because the forms were online. Not only was the motion not necessary in the first place, but it will likely not be heard since she does not have a clue she has to file the notice. Since the motion will not be heard, it may affect the closing of her case.

All this for what appears to to be a routine case.

But at least she saved $1,000!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Judge with a Sense of Humor

Please read this (short) opinion.  No, this is not my case, but it's still a good read.  The good stuff is in the third paragraph.

kissel

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Quote for the Week

I wish it were possible to obtain a single amendment to our Constitution. I would be willing to depend on that alone for the reduction of the administration of our government to the genuine principles of its constitution; I mean an additional article, taking from the federal government the power to borrow money.

Thomas Jefferson

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Video Response

J. Curtman posted a link to his great response in a comment to the original Harless video.  I'm embedding it below.

More on Officer Harless

Some of the internet chatter over the video of Officer Harless, which I posted here, has tried to paint this as an isolated incident and the reaction of an officer under a potential threat.

Unfortunately, that is not the only time Harless has gone primal at the sight of a gun. 

Here is another video:



Now, unlike readily apparent in the first stop, in this video, it would appear that the officer had reason to stop the vehicle.  None of that excuses his language or demeanor.  No matter the crime, there was no reason to insult the accused.

Also, how many times during incidents like this has his camera "malfunctioned" or otherwise failed to capture  incriminating behavior?  In those cases, as I mentioned before, it would be the officer's word against the accused.

Moreover, the Canton Police Department can no longer argue that the incident last month was an isolated incident.  Two documented instances cannot be distilled into one isolated incident.  Now, the police and council will either stand by his behavior (thus approving it), fire the officer (thus washing their hands of it), or prosecute him for the various crimes he commits on both videos (as they would have done to you and I had we been the ones acting like the officer).

Don't hold your breath.

Source

Friday, July 29, 2011

Mr. President, I Completely Agree!!

Mr. President, I rise today to talk about America’s debt problem.

The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies.

Over the past 5 years, our federal debt has increased by $3.5 trillion to $8.6 trillion. That is ‘‘trillion’’ with a ‘‘T.’’ That is money that we have borrowed from the Social Security trust fund, borrowed from China and Japan, borrowed from American taxpayers. And over the next 5 years, between now and 2011, the President’s budget will increase the debt by almost another $3.5 trillion.

Numbers that large are sometimes hard to understand. Some people may wonder why they matter. Here is why: This year, the Federal Government will spend $220 billion on interest. That is more money to pay interest on our national debt than we’ll spend on Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. That is more money to pay interest on our debt this year than we will spend on education, homeland security, transportation, and veterans benefits combined. It is more money in one year than we are likely to spend to rebuild the devastated gulf coast in a way that honors the best of America.

And the cost of our debt is one of the fastest growing expenses in the Federal budget. This rising debt is a hidden domestic enemy, robbing our cities and States of critical investments in infrastructure like bridges, ports, and levees; robbing our families and our children of critical investments in education and health care reform; robbing our seniors of the retirement and health security they have counted on.

Every dollar we pay in interest is a dollar that is not going to investment in America’s priorities. Instead, interest payments are a significant tax on all Americans—a debt tax that Washington doesn’t want to talk about. If Washington were serious about honest tax relief in this country, we would see an effort to reduce our national debt by returning to responsible fiscal policies.

But we are not doing that. Despite repeated efforts by Senators CONRAD and FEINGOLD, the Senate continues to reject a return to the commonsense Pay-go rules that used to apply. Previously, Pay-go rules applied both to increases in mandatory spending and to tax cuts. The Senate had to abide by the commonsense budgeting principle of balancing expenses and revenues. Unfortunately, the principle was abandoned, and now the demands of budget discipline apply only to spending.

As a result, tax breaks have not been paid for by reductions in Federal spending, and thus the only way to pay for them has been to increase our deficit to historically high levels and borrow more and more money. Now we have to pay for those tax breaks plus the cost of borrowing for them. Instead of reducing the deficit, as some people claimed, the fiscal policies of this administration and its allies in Congress will add more than $600 million in debt for each of the next 5 years. That is why I will once again cosponsor the Pay-go amendment and continue to hope that my colleagues will return to a smart rule that has worked in the past and can work again.

Our debt also matters internationally. My friend, the ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, likes to remind us that it took 42 Presidents 224 years to run up only $1 trillion of foreign-held debt. This administration did more than that in just 5 years. Now, there is nothing wrong with borrowing from foreign countries. But we must remember that the more we depend on foreign nations to lend us money, the more our economic security is tied to the whims of foreign leaders whose interests might not be aligned with ours.

Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that ‘‘the buck stops here.’’ Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.

I therefore intend to oppose the effort to increase America’s debt limit.

-Senator Barack Obama
Senate Floor Speech on Raising the Debt Limit
March 16, 2006

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Bear With Me a Minute

I'm grateful to have a broad demographic of readers to this blog.  Some are friends and family, some are fellow bloggers and/or gun nuts, and some are people who have only a passing interest, if any, for firearms.  It's that last group of people I want to address today.

I'd like you to take the time and watch this video.  It's a bit long, but I think you'll find it worth the view.  What we have here is Canton, Ohio police officer Daniel Harless pulling behind William E. Bartlett, and beginning an interaction.

Please note, this video shows the two main characters as they interact.  Both Harless and Bartlett are armed.  One is acting reasonably, the other is clearly not.  This incident could have ended in a shooting, but not for the reasons you may imagine.  Further note:  please understand that the language is atrocious, as is the attitude.  Even if you are offended by this language, you really need to take the time and watch it. 



For those who believe only police officers should have guns, you need to reconsider.  Moreover, this is one officer who should NEVER, NEVER, NEVER wear a badge again.

Officer Harless, who has been suspended, was a police officer in Virginia for four years.  Over the last 11 years, there have been 16 complaints against him.  One of the incidents involved a failure to activate the dash-mounted camera.  I can only imagine the result in this case if the camera video would not have been available.  One man's word versus the officer's.  To their credit, the police department, and the police union, are distancing themselves from the incident.  City Council president Alan Schulman blames the incident on concealed weapon carriers and uses the incident to call for more control of guns.  As to what I and my gun have to do with this incident, I have no clue, but apparently, he will feel better once my rights are limited.

I am not police bashing.  I have relatives in the police force.  I have had the privilege (or misfortune, depending on the specifics) of interacting with more police officers than I care to count.  I have only had one instance (a story I may have to tell later) where the officers were less than professional.  In the last few encounters in recent memory, the fact that I was carrying a firearm occupied no more than a few seconds of the officers' time, unless the conversation revolved around guns in general.

Officers are human.  In this case, this human acted irresponsibly, and frighteningly irrationally.  To think that his badge somehow makes him safer around guns is ludicrous.

One final point, I really have not been able to read blogs this week, so if you have already posted this video, let me know and I'll post a link so that we can all join in the conversation.  This post is more for the benefit of those friends who don't read other gun blogs, so this is likely new to them.

H/T Ohio CCW

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Quote for the Week

A family is a place where principles are hammered and honed on the anvil of everyday living. -Charles R. Swindoll

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Gravity 2, Us 0

The men of our family continue to fight gravity, with limited success. I got a call from my brother during lunch yesterday. He was headed to the hospital to go see dad, who broke his leg.

Dad was working on a roof when the roof caved in. He landed fine, but three bundles of shingles fell on his thigh and broke his femur.

He's already had the surgery, picked up some extra screws, and should be out of the hospital by Monday.

The story could have been a lot worse, so we're thankful for how it turned out. I did tell dad that they do make these things called ladders, so perhaps he should use one next time.

Now the real test is for my mom. She's going to have to convince him that when the doctor says to rest, he means it.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Interesting

I'm in an bit of a hurry, and as usual, I forgot something.  I decide to duck into the local grocery store, grab what I need, and slip out, after paying, of course.

I'm open carrying.

I make it back to my vehicle when I notice an elderly woman sitting in the driver's seat of her car, her eyes red.  She looks lost.

I look at her and she looks up.  Her eyes catch a glimpse of the gun on my side.  For some reason, her face clears and she opens the door.

"Sir," she says, "My husband passed away recently and I've just been told by someone that my tags expire this month.  He always took care of everything and I'm not even sure what that means.  Can you help me?"

I walk her to the rear of her car, and I point out the stickers on her license plate.  Sure enough, they expire at the end of the month.  I give her directions to the nearest DMV and walk her through what she needs to do.  She goes on her way, as do I.

I couldn't quite figure out what was different about that encounter.  I guess that, as many people as walked past her, perhaps she only felt comfortable asking for help from the one with the gun.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Quote for the Week

No matter what your religion, you should try to become a government program, for then you will have everlasting life.

Lynne Martin

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Places We've Never Been

1.  Wal-Mart #2313, Streetsboro, OH
2.  Wal-Mart #2540, Clarion, PA
3.  Toy's R Us #6015, Hobart, IN
4.  Macy's East #27, Merrillville, IN
5.  Wal-Mart #1618, Merrillville, IN
6.  Sam's Club #8174, Merrillville, IN
7.  Foot Locker #0729, Merrillville, IN

Why does this matter?  Because some knuckle-dragging, scum-sucking, worthless piece of wasted oxygen* has somehow gotten a hold of our debit card numbers and taken our money over the weekend.  Yes, we're only temporarily broke, and we'll get our money back soon enough.  And yet, I hope and pray you get caught.  Soon.

*Of course, I mean that in a good, Christian kind of way.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Overheard on the Scanner

Dispatch:  Dispatch to 230

230:  This is 230, go ahead.

Dispatch:  Can you respond to a domestic assault in the second sector at 3413 Main Street?  It's been pending for a while and I have no first sector cars available.

230:  Sure, I'll take it.  I'm coming from [location about 20 minutes away].

Dispatch:  At this location, you have a 17 year-old male making unwanted sexual advances to a 13 year old and a 14 year old relative.

-o-o-o-o-

Let me get this right.  Someone calls because a 17 year old is making sexual advances to two young relatives.  The message has been pending at dispatch because there are no officers available in the sector.  Finally, dispatch decides to call in a car from another sector.  That officer is another 20 minutes away.

Yep, hang tight!  We'll be right there!

When seconds count, police are only minutes away.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Quote for the Week

Nothing is more destructive of respect for the government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be enforced.

Albert Einstein

Friday, July 8, 2011

Caylee's Law

In the aftermath of the verdict in Florida, some legislators have decided that the remedy for those who commit crimes is to pass yet another law.  Since Casey Anthony did not report her daughter missing for over a month, they want to pass a law that makes it a felony if you fail to report a child missing after a certain period of time.

I understand the outrage at the jury's result.  I also understand the human need for "someone" to pay.  But, let's face it, there are times when no one pays at all.  It is a sad fact of humanity.  And in those instances, we should not automatically assume the only fix is to broaden the reach of the government so more people are caught up in the net.

Don't get me wrong.  I understand why people think this might be a good idea.  Although I have not seen the text of the law, what I understand of it seems benign.  However, do we really believe this law would have changed anything other than given her an additional felony conviction?  Would it have saved the child?  No.  Would it have caused one single moment of pause in the mother's mind?  No.  So, in effect, we are passing a law that many know will have no deterrent effect, but we do it just because we can pile on after a verdict we don't like.  It is simply an emotional response to a current event.  That is not how law should be made.

Instead of automatically giving the government more power to control us, how about forcing the prosecutor to put on a better case.  The only acceptable result after this case is for the prosecution team (attorneys, police, investigators, etc...) to return to their offices and figure out how to be so good at what they do that this does not happen again.

That, in turn, will create a better society for all.  That's something one more law will never do.


H/T To Kevin Smith at Ace Law Letter, who made me think.  On a Friday, no less.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Casey Anthony Verdict

It's been interesting to me to listen, read, and watch the reactions to the Casey Anthony verdict.  Everyone, from the casual observer, to the court news junkie, has an opinion.

Regardless of your opinion of the result, there are several things to take away from this.

1.  We have a flawed legal system, no doubt.  And yet, it is the best in the world.  If I am ever in a situation where I have to personally confront the legal system, there is no other country in the world I'd rather it be.

2.  You have to hand it to the defense attorneys.  They had a difficult case, a client absolutely hated by the public, a heinous crime, and yet, they were able to pull it off.

3.  The legal standard to keep in mind is "reasonable doubt."  The defense does not have to prove that the defendant did not do it.  They only have to show that there is some doubt, some reasonable doubt, that the defendant did it.  The prosecution has to prove the case to a very high standard, such that by the time the prosecution is done, the jury sees there is no reasonable doubt the defendant is guilty.  Yes, I know that we're talking about a mushy, subjective standard, but that's the system we have.

4.  Let's face it, the only reason people are upset with the verdict is because they don't agree with it.  I'm not sure, were I ever charged with a crime, that I would want the public at large to decide my fate.  In some places they call that an angry mob. 

5.  Finally, remember another side effect of this trial.  Every time a supposed guilty person goes free (then again, if a jury says they're not guilty, are they? Doesn't the same hold true if they were to find her guilty) the prosecution has learned a valuable lesson.  They have been beat back, and in this case, publicly.  The idea is that the next time they bring a charge, they will be that much more prepared.  The next time the police question a suspect, they should be that much more careful.  The next time the evidence technicians process a scene, they will take that much more care. 

That's the way the system is supposed to work.  Whether we like it or not.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Conversations at Home

Daughter:  Daddy, can I buy a machine gun?

Dad:  Can you afford it?

Guest:  That's an odd conversation.

o-o-o-o-o-o-o

Hope you had a great time celebrating our Independence!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Quote for the Week

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.

But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
Declaration of Independence
July 4, 1776

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Update

Remember this post?  The one about the student who stopped a robbery, rape, and murder plan?

Here's the update:  Ensign honored for thwarting 2009 robbery.



My hat's off to you Ensign Sean Barner.

H/T Sharp as a Marble

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Lesson Learned?

Whenever I meet someone whose license is suspended, I always wonder...

How did they get to the office?  Are they driving back home?

I once represented a young man for a traffic offense appeal.  He had been convicted in the lower court of trying to pass a stopped school bus, and because of his driving record, the judge suspended his license as part of the sentence.  Unhappy with the result, he appealed the decision and retained me.

His traffic record was horrendous.  His attitude was worse.  But, away we went.  I reviewed pictures of the scene, which were drastically different than he described.  I went over everything with him, including the expected testimony from the bus driver and the police officer, both of whom witnessed what he did.  At this point, the focus shifted from trying to avoid the conviction to trying to protect him as best as I could.

The trial day comes and we meet in court.  He shows up with his girlfriend, which is a relief for me.  Presumably, she drove him to court just in case he lost his license.  We survive the trial with a better result than in lower court.  However, because of his driving record, the judge refused to let him keep his license.  The judge suspended his license again and asked my client to surrender his license right there.  We step out into the hallway and go over our game plan to reinstate his license.  I tell him he cannot drive in the meantime, as any further traffic infractions will affect his ability to get his license back.  We say our goodbyes and walk out.

As I'm driving back to the office on the interstate, I notice there are two vehicles weaving in and out of traffic and approaching at high speed.  They come closer and pass me.

I shake my head and sigh.

The first car is driven by my client.  The second car is driven by his girlfriend.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Quote for the Week

Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated failures. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.

Calvin Coolidge

Friday, June 24, 2011

Cream of the Crop

I was done with my case, so I headed out of the courthouse thinking of nothing but lunch.  As I walked out, I noticed a group of police officers gathered around a vehicle in the parking lot.  I didn't think much about it, since there were police officers all over the place, both because of court cases, and because the police headquarters building was right behind the courthouse.  For some reason, though, several more police officers kept heading that way. 

I gave in to my curiousity and changed course.  As I got closer to the gathering, I could hear that the officers were very upset and some were peering into the window of the vehicle.  I got close enough to realize that there were two kids (an infant and toddler) strapped to car seats in a locked vehicle.  The window was open just a bit, and the (ir)responsible adult was nowhere to be found.  It was hot outside, but the mood near the car was a lot hotter.

After a few minutes, someone came running out of the courthouse, yelling, "I'm right here!  I was only gone for a few seconds!"  It was as if someone waved a hunk of meat in front of a group of hungry crocodiles.  The mother received an immediate and high-speed escort to her car, all the while hearing officers share their opinion of her actions.

I don't know all the details except what I saw, which was this:  On a hot day, a mother left her children locked in a car, with the windows barely cracked, while she took care of some unknown business in the courthouse. 

I'm sure whatever the police charged her with, it was not enough.  Common sense is not common.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Us. v. Us

I stopped by the local bookstore to see if there was anything interesting in the cheap books section.  Not finding anything there, I wandered over to the firearms section to browse the books.  Since I was open carrying, I caught the attention of a man standing there and we starting talking about guns.  This man mentioned that he was a strong supporter of the Second Amendment.  A few moments later, a third man came up and joined the conversation.

The conversation quickly steered toward training.  At first, we just spoke of the importance of training versus just reading.  Soon, however, both men spoke of the need to get specialized, tactical training, of the type offered by several military contractor schools.  One of them said that those who carry firearms without that specialized training scare him.

At this point, not having engaged in such sooper seekrit takticool training, I just listened.  They went into some detail regarding their training, even going so far as to say that the training offered to mere civilians is inferior.  The only training that matters, according to them, is the training given to law enforcement and military.

This just reeks of the idea that only those with specialized training should have guns.  So, who decides what that specialized training is?  I'm sure that for our two bookstore gun scholars, that level of training is anything less than they have had.  What if someone decides, as I'm sure someone will, that even that level of training is not enough?  Where do we draw the line?  What level of training is sufficient to exercise a Constitutional right?  What level of training will be sufficient to turn criminals into law abiding citizens?  Some states already require waiting periods, classes to buy, classes to own, classes to carry, etc... (things criminals ignore anyway), and it has done nothing to prevent crime.  And yet, some gun owners have no problem restricting rights because, to them, the alternative is "scary."

Look, training is important, no doubt.  But the moment we start thinking that our particular level of training should be the minimum required to exercise our Second Amendment rights, we become no better than those who would seek to take that right away.  What about the elderly lady who was raped in our neighborhood.  What if she wanted to buy a gun for defense now?  What type of class do you want her to sit in?  Will you only be happy when you see her in 5.11 gear crawling in a prone position to get to the target?  What about the single mother, hoping that a restraining order will be enough?  She doesn't even hope for child support any more, let alone think of paying for a week-long class.

Absent someone else's generosity, and a more cooperative schedule, I can almost guarantee that I will never take a military or law enforcement level training class.  It's just not likely to happen. And yet, by some definitions, that "shortcoming" means I should never be allowed to carry a firearm, nor should I depend on one for defense. 
Ludicrous.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Quote for the Week

It is easier for a father to have children than for children to have a real father.

Pope John XXIII 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Hair Terrorism

Beep.

I step back, run my hands through my pockets, turn some of them inside out to show they're empty, and try again.

The courtroom security officer waves me through the metal detector again and I step through.

Beep beep.

Ugh.  I need to get to my trial, but instead, I'm doing the hokey pokey with the metal detector.

The officer keeps looking at me with an annoyed face, clearly convinced that I must be loaded with all kinds of contraband and dangerous weapons.  The line forming behind me is now convinced I'm an idiot, I'm sure.  I continue the charade a couple more times.

Finally, he pulls out the handheld wand and scans me with it.  (Wait a minute!  You just NOW pulled that thing out?)  The wand alerts on the left breast pocket of my suit.  The officer asks, "Do you have anything in there?  I've checked the pocket three times already, but I stick my hand in there again.

This time, I feel something metallic.

One of my daughters had stuck a flat metal barette in my pocket.  And so, folks, the system grinds to a halt on account of a metal barette.  It has broken through the seam, and is barely hanging on before dropping into the liner.  I finally grab it and am able to pull it out.

The barette was taken into custody without further incident.