Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Miscellaneous Musings....

Misleading Ledes...

West Hollywood May Ban Cosmetic Surgery for Pets

When I first saw this headline, what popped into my mind was the image of a Bichon with a nose job (or maybe a Great Dane with silicone falsies).

Turns out West Hollywood is thinking about banning cropping tails and ears. That I can agree with.

More Bad Press for LAPD

Reaction Mounts to Calif. Teen's Shooting
LOS ANGELES - A 13-year-old suspected car thief was shot to death by police after he led them on a 3 1/2-mile chase and then backed into their cruiser, police said.
Friends and neighbors of Devin Brown said they could not understand why police opened fire on him early Sunday in South Los Angeles.
Well, let's see if we can figure out why the cops shot... (Remember, I was a police officer for 14 years, so this is nothing but a wild guess, unlike the expertise displayed by the media and public)... You have somebody -- and you don't know who, never mind how old -- screaming around LA in a 3000-pound guided missile, risking the lives of hundreds (if not thousands) of innocent passers-by. This person then attempts to kill you, using that same 3000-pound weapon, then tries to beat feet out of Dodge, while you're standing there yelling "Halt" (do any of you remember that wonderful episode of "Barney Miller" where Gregory Sierra -- disgusted at whatever Puerto Rican criminal he had that day -- affected a British accent to say 'Halt, I say, halt'?)

"I know he was wrong for stealing a car, but what I really don't understand is the police have had so much training," said Carmen Dorsey, who stopped by an impromptu memorial at the site where the teen died. "Why do they have to shoot to kill?"
Because, people, shooting someone in the hand or leg only works in the movies. Many years ago, after a shooting involving the NYPD, some sociologist was bitching about trigger-happy cops. One of the local TV stations got some police training tapes (Motorola's "Shoot - Don't Shoot" series), and invited the sociologist, a street cop, and the reporter to try their luck. The videos show numerous scenarios that cops encounter on a daily basis; the premise is does the officer shoot or not? The sociologist got 'shot' by the first two 'assailants', then shot everyone in sight. The reporter scored about 50%, and the cop scored 100%. BTW, it was a new series of tapes -- not released to the police departments yet -- so the cop did not have the advantage of having been through the scenarios.

Police academies (and the military) teach one style of shooting -- aim for the biggest body mass -- and shoot to kill... cause otherwise, the bad guy's gonna shoot you.

The police union said officers are required to make quick decisions in the field and a delay in judgment could cost them their lives and endanger the community.
That's one of the problems with "Monday morning quarterbacking". It's easy to sit in your easy chair, safe at home, and tell the cop he was wrong for a split-second decision, often made in a dark alley late at night, when some bastard is trying to KILL you.

At the crash site, some placards criticized the shooting. "LAPD ... Thank you for giving us yet another reason to dislike your services," one read. "You are a cancer to the community."
This, of course, is the same community that celebrates sports vistories by rioting....

Oh, and lest you think that, like their TV counterparts, cops go have a beer and get back to work, it ain't so. This is the part you don't see on "Cops"... the nightmares, the shakes (often the shitting the pants in terror -- and the city doesn't pay those cleaning bills), the countless trips to the pshrink, the way it affects every action thereafter... Oh, yes, and it's much worse if the dead body is a kid, regardless of what the kid did.

Police work isn't easy, no matter what TV says. It takes a terrible toll on the individual, his/her loved ones, and even on society. 14 years turned me into a racist, violent bastard, too ready to hit first and ask questions later. It cost me a marriage and a subsequent relationship, and left me suicidal and alcoholic (my new wife has shown me that life is, in fact, worth living; she's truly wonderful).

If you have a friend who is a cop, ask him or her. If he/she is honest, you'll hear the truth.


NYC Mayor Faces Dilemma on Gay Marriage

NEW YORK - Mayor Michael Bloomberg staked out a compromise position in the gay-marriage debate: He would publicly support gay marriage, but challenge a court decision allowing it.

That stance has pleased almost no one. Fellow Republicans are calling him a Democrat in disguise, and gays are calling him a coward.

The furor illustrates Bloomberg's peculiar political dilemma as a moderate Republican running for re-election in November in this overwhelmingly liberal, Democratic city with an active gay community.
This is not surprising. Here we have someone who came into office on the coattails of the neocon wingnuts, and who now has to decide whether he will answer to his constituents -- who can leave him unemployed -- or to his political mentors -- who can leave him "untouchable" in terms of higher office. It's also a prime example of the current "weasel deal" school of political practice: proclaim one thing, do something else. BlunderBoy, of course, is the world-class expert at this.

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