Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Schticks of One, Half a Dozen of the Other

I. Gun Nuttiness

According to a filler in today's Portland Press-Herald, a woman in Lebanon, PA, lost her concealed carry permit after wearing a handgun in plain view at a soccer game. She claimed that "warm-weather clothing made it difficult to hide a firearm." Well, she has a point there. On the other hand, a right -- such as carrying a weapon -- comes with concurrent responsibilities -- such as not terrifying the populace, and obeying the terms of the permit. A "concealed carry" permit is just that: concealed. As a former police officer, I can testify that it is a real pain in the back of the lap to conceal a weapon on a hot summer day. That's why one occasionally sees beefy guys with short hair, blue jeans and black shoes (or black boots) wearing a windbreaker when it's 110 degrees. Chances are they guy's a cop. (And yes, the blue jeans and black boots is the giveaway).

If you're going to carry based on a concealed carry permit, your weapon has to be concealed.


Oh, and the local judge -- who also likes to pack heat on a concealed carry permit -- said the law required him to return the woman's permit.

II. Detroit Nuttiness

This tale of Detroit Nuttiness has nothing to do with former-mayor-and-convicted-felon Kwame Kilpatrick, but what the heck. Five (presumably female) Detroit police officers are suing the city for discrimination, in that they were forced to take sick leave when their bosses found out they were pregnant. The plaintiffs say they are contesting a 2004 policy that requires sick leave "unless a doctor finds they can crawl in confined spaces, jump from an elevated surface, and forcibly make arrests." Now, as a male, I have never been pregnant, and hopefully never will be (although I could use the money I'd get selling my story to the National Enquirer), but the policy seems to make a certain amount of sense. Being a street cop is a demanding, physical profession; does it really make sense to endanger not only your life, but the life of your unborn child? (And that comment has nothing to do with the question of when a fetus becomes a person)

On the other hand, given the dire financial straits in which Detroit finds itself, there should be some way of keeping these officers gainfully occupied while pregnant. The old standby of switching them to dispatch no longer is viable, due to all the specialized training now required of dispatchers (which is completely different than the training given street cops), but there should be other options, such as temporary re-assignment to Community Services (giving talks to school kids, who'd probably be thrilled at seeing a "girl cop"), Crime Prevention (Neighborhood Watch), or recruiting. Hell, sweeten the deal and arrange a temporary transfer to the Detective Division (to avoid having to buy maternity uniforms) and have them work Monday to Friday, 8:00 am to 4:00 pm, conducting follow-up interviews and investigations.

The city is going to wind up paying them either way, so they may as well get a return on their investment. And the average street cop has too much experience for it to lie fallow for five or six months, when they could be doing something productive for the city.

III. Dennis the Menace

Today's installment of the adventures of America's favorite "five-ana-half" year old has Dennis asking a guest, "If you're not married, who tells you when you're doin' something wrong?"

Oh, Dennis, Dennis, Dennis... Enjoy it while it lasts.

As any adult male can testify, there is always someone willing to tell you you're wrong. Female relatives, friends, acquaintances, even strangers, are always more than willing to point out the faults of any male.

IV. Bailout BS

After receiving something like $80 billion from the Feds as part of the bailout, AIG insurance execs blew $440,000 on a weekend retreat (including spas, manicures, pedicures, and a $10K bar tab). AIG then asked for $60 billion more.

And got it.

Meanwhile, ain't nobody bailing out us poor schmucks.

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