Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Quick Links for April 7th

There's a whole lot of crazy in the news today (mostly in the second item), so let's just dive right in. Quick Links!

Sad ending, chilling reminder

Well, it's over. OK, at least the search for Sandra is over. There's still the matter of some crazy motherfucker out there snatching up little girls and stuffing them into suitcases. Whenever stuff like this happens the usual response is shock that this could happen so close to home. And then the resulting questions about the safety of one's own children. I don't want to pass judgement because I'm (thankfully) not a parent (knock on wood). But one of the interesting questions asked during the press conference last night was what advice Tracy Sgt. Tony Sheneman had for the parents of Tracy. His response was extremely genuine as he is a Tracy parent himself. I'm paraphrasing from memory hear but it was something along the lines of remembering to keep a watchful eye over your children and to kiss them and tell them you love when you get home tonight. It would have been easy make some bravado-filled grand statement about the world we live in today but instead he made an understated and ultimately true statement.

Sometimes there's just nothing you can do but do your best and hope. Everybody always thinks it'll never happen in their own tightly knitted neighborhood. Then the next thing you know a kid escapes from his backyard (or car) and you're on News10 saying "How could this have happened here?" The thing is, it could happen anywhere. It's a scary thought but it's not like it's anything new. That scary thought has recently been brought to the forefront of everybody's minds and it's a shame that something like this has to happen to do so. Now I hear my friends who are parents worrying about letting their kids out to play. One of my friends from Tracy talked about not being able to go out alone at night with a killer on the loose somewhat jokingly. But at the end of the day we can't live in fear like that. I wouldn't want my child growing up in a culture of fear like that. All we can do is try our best to keep a watchful eye over our loved ones, tell them we love them and hope.

They are the symbol this town needs...

Reason # 43,097 why I love Stockton.

Leave it to the crazy residents of Stockton to come up with something 50 times more frightening than the previous item. And trust me, this is pretty scary. I'm not even sure where to begin with this. If there's one thing this town doesn't need it's a group of vigilantes (which is really what they're talking about. They say militia, I say vigilante group. To-may-toe, To-mah-toe) running around with guns and a chip on their shoulder.

Yes, I understand there's constitutional provisions to form a militia. But this isn't Nam, there are rules. I'm not up-to-date on my constitution amendments, but I'm pretty sure one of those rules is not threatening the city with vigilante justice (The "Watch and see. Who's gonna stop us?" line).

In a testament to just how well thought out this whole plan is, the militia (which pretty much every city official quoted in the story thinks is a horrible idea by the way) plans on billing the city $350 per hour for their "services". $350 per hour? Are you fucking kidding me? So that's how Bruce Wayne became a billionaire. He was fleecing Gotham for an hourly rate! How the fuck do you even do that? Is there a vigilante time clock? Can you really force the city to for pay something they don't want? If so, the SPOA likes the cut of that jibb and would like to subscribe to their newsletter. This whole thing is fucking based of the fact that Ann Johnston, Gordon Palmer, Dale Fritchen, Susan Eggman and the entire City Council are basically turning their pockets inside out and saying "we got nothing" to Stockton PD. If they can't pay those guys, how the fuck are they going to pay a bunch of untrained, disabled vets (note the electric wheelchair joystick in Pettet's picture).

And that brings me to the biggest issue, training. Here's this "militia's" idea of training:

"He said the militia will train at a firing range..."

So pretty much, they're training to shoot straight. Which will totally prepare them to do stuff like this (kickass article about the possibly affects of the budget cuts/layoffs by the way).

Then there's also the fact that doing this is basically suicide. How do I know this? Let's jump to the notebook dump at David Siders' blog! (By the way, the latest post scares me, but is not in the least bit surprising)

"Pettet said the militia would patrol 'only the worst neighborhoods,' using four men in one car at a time."

Ummm, Mr. Pettet, they have more guns and people than you in those neighborhoods. But don't take my word for it, here's somebody slightly more respected than us.

"Councilwoman Susan Eggman said, 'That is over the top.' She said, "I think it's like suicide. It's an irrevocable answer for a problem that's not going to be around forever.'"

I see no way how this ends badly. Except for, you know, every way.

Umm, yeah. About that program name...

So yeah, paying it forward means instead of getting something back for doing a good deed you ask the person you did the good deed for to do the same for someone else thus negating the need for reciprocity. It's a great system because it causes people to do good things and not expect praise or recognition for their deeds. Just do good things for the sake of doing good thing. Free advertisement kind of negates that, even if it's not the intent (although we question their intent if they're posing for some cheesy photo with their company name featured prominently. Not to mention that short-sighted NASCAR analogy. I hate to break it to you, but sponsors aren't paying drivers out of the kindness of their hearts. Tony Stewart ain't paying shit forward.)

And on top of that, you usually pay it forward to people, not donations to charitable organizations. You usually pay it forward by doing something nice for somebody, say, helping an old lady with her bags and when they ask how they can repay you you tell them to "pay it forward" and do something nice for someone else. Just taking a percentage of your profits and donating it to charity is the laziest way to pay it forward.

Oh, and yes, Lori also wrote about old people today. Gotta keep the streak alive.

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