Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Inconvenience


You see a cruel authority figure inconveniencing your day.
You see an expensive charge that you can't afford.
At Christmas, credit card bills in the mail.
You can't afford to pay it, not now,
Why would the police do that?
Why do they do that?
Charge people.

It's because.
They know the aftermath,
High speed collisions, drunk drivers,
They smell the burning flesh, petrol, rubber,
They make notes, photograph the limbs, guts, decapitations
The carnage of babies and children and teenagers spread across highways.

But that isn't always the hardest job that they do. That job comes next.
Next, they call upon other detachments and ask for assistance.
"Please attend the following address and tell the residents,
With our sincerest condolences we inform you that,
Your daughter, or son, or mother, or father,
Were driving along the highway when,
A terrible collision occurred.
Police and ambulance,
They tried their best,
To save them.
But they're,
Dead!"

Denial.
Disbelief.
Acceptance.
Tears and anguish.
Hard on you, hard on them,
And the police, choking back tears,
Wonder if it could be have been prevented.
If only police had enforced more, just a little bit more.
If they went after speeders and drunk drivers a few more times,
If they wrote more violation tickets and pulled a couple more people over.

Could they have saved a life? Maybe save the next one? With a ticket?
How many impaired driving charges does it take to save one life?
How many tickets written, vehicles pulled over, stop checks?
How many charges does it take to save one life so that,
They don't have to knock on yet another door,
So they don't have to knock on your door.
In order to tell you the worst news.
That you have ever heard.
In your entire life,
Your entire life,
Devastated!

Charge people?
Why do they do that?
Why would the police do that?
You can't afford to pay it, not now!
At Christmas, credit card bills in the mail.
You see an expensive charge that you can't afford.
You see a cruel authority figure inconveniencing your day.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Profiling.

The buzzword of the day is profiling. Police do profile. They profile every day, and they will not stop, and they will not apologize  for it.   They profile people who act weird and sketchy. They want to watch those people. They profile cars with visible damage as being more likely driven by impaired drivers. They profile people with long criminal records because, lets face it, people with long criminal records are more likely to commit offences than people who have never been criminally charged in their lives. They profile young people, because old people don't commit as many crimes. 

If a police officer has a vehicle stop with a bunch of hari-krishnas in a van and it leads to a major drug bust, you can bet your ass the next time the cop sees a bunch of hari-krishnas driving around in a van, he's going to take a hard look at what they are doing!

Police might not be able to rhyme off exact statistics, but their experience shows them that young men steal more than old men. Boy Scout Leaders and Catholic Priests sexually abuse more little boys than Firefighters and street sweepers. People in the bad part of town steal, fight, rob, break stuff and do more drugs than people in the good part of town.

A cop who doesn't profile, is probably not a very good cop.

The more experience they have, the more they investigate, the more arrests they make, the more crime scenes they attend, the better they are at profiling.
 
There are people who profile for a living. They are called criminal analysts and it's their jobs to identify suspects based on criminal profiles.

A career thief who likes to break into houses by smashing a side window in the afternoon on a weekday. He then steals  electronics and women's panties. 

Suddenly a rash of those break and enters occur on a street he just moved onto.

Ding, ding, ding, ding.

Guess who the prime suspect is and guess how police came to that conclusion.

PROFILING!

How did it suddenly become such a dirty word?

Friday, December 05, 2014

Ferguson

Dear Ferguson.

Racism exists, but there is another problem in the United States. It's called stupidity. I don't know the exact details of what happened on that day where a three-hundred pound black convenience-store-robber died after attacking a policeman.



Please stop calling him an unarmed teenager, though. Technically I guess he was unarmed, but he was also a three hundred pound man. A man who had just manhandled the tiny clerk while robbing a convenience store. I don't know about you, but I don't know too many people, when being confronted by the police, physically attack the police officer.

You say tomato...

Unarmed teenager with his hands up/three hundred pound store-robbing police-assaulting criminal.

Yes there is racism in America. Excessive use of force by police does happen. Police also get attacked by violent criminals and have to defend themselves. Citizens, white, black, native, Chinese - whatever - do not have the right to resist arrest. Accused citizens have their right to fight the charges in court. They have the right to take wrongful police actions to account through complaints, through civil or even criminal investigations if warranted.

Based on the serious nature of the incident, this police officer had a trial to deem whether his actions were criminal. The jury believed the police officers testimony, which was consistent with witnesses on many accounts. The jury believed the police officer feared death or grievous injury and shot his attacker.

Now I understand that this particular violent criminal had a mother who is grieving her son. Here's a big surprise. Every violent criminal ever arrested in the history of mankind - also had a mother, and a father, and probably even a friend.

Every criminal in history had someone that loved them at some point in their life. There was probably good in them, as well as bad. On that day, a man doing very bad things was shot and killed. I just wish that the outraged public would stop pretending that the good side, the side where someone momentarily saw him raise his hands, perhaps when he realized beating a police officer and stealing cigars was wrong, or perhaps in preparation of launching his next assault.

If that's what really happened. Because, to be completely honest, I don't know every detail of what really happened. And neither do you. That police officer, from my limited knowledge, killed a criminal who was attacking him.

I know everyone out there would like to think that the police officer had lots of time to reflect on exactly what was happening and make rational, logical, perfectly sane decisions. He did not! He had split seconds! He made split-second decisions, in the midst of being physically attacked by a much larger man. In pulling out his gun, the police officer decided to use lethal force. His emotions were probably very high. He was probably angry, terrified, and determined to not be another name on a wall and sad police tragedy in the newspapers.

He's a different kind of tragedy, a victim of the media. An aggressive media who chose inflammatory headlines like "Unarmed Black Teenager Murdered by Police," instead of, "Dangerous robber killed after assaulting Cop." or, "Violent Criminal Shot and killed while Assaulting Police Hero."

So if you really feel that you must protest, because you're angry but don't really know why, please protest a real cause. Like global warming. Or violence against women. Or stupidity.

As seen below, a large, unarmed black men can't possibly be dangerous. At least his right hand was up, in fact, for someone to throw punches, at least one hand has to be up. A good fighter would have both hands up.

Perhaps "Hands up don't shoot," should be, "Hands up, I'm ready to punch you in the face now."




Police are human beings faced with extraordinary circumstances. They have to make split second decisions. They deal with violent people, drunk and high on drugs, suffering mental breakdowns, overcome with violent fits of rage. Sometimes these people are in possession of weapons.

Most police officers go their entire career without having to take someone's life. In the USA, there are approximately 765,000 sworn police officers in the country. That means a few things.

One - there are bound to be a few bad apples who shouldn't have become police. If you think of any career job you've had in your life, you're bound to come up with incompetent jerks who shouldn't have been there.

Some police suffer from extreme stresses. They have a gun and a badge and if you catch them on a bad day, their patience and thought process might be a little murky. They might get set off a little bit quicker than they should. They might snap.

At best, a little bit extra force might be used.

At worse, they might kill someone.

It's reality. It's people who live in a world of violence responding to violent people.

Sometimes a routine bar fight between complete strangers ends in a death.

Sometimes, if someone fights the police, the worst can happen.

Sometimes police make imperfect decisions. They are human. Watch this video of a police officer who shot someone. A human being faced with an impossible decision.





Nothing upsets me more than seeing people posting inflammatory anti-police stories like a pitbull ripping at the neck of it's victim. Ferguson, New York, hang the police.

Then, when called to task. When seeing the repercussions of their hatred spreading as police get assassinated by violent thugs, the same people say, "I was merely suggesting that police should be held more accountable."

People shared the same anti-police rants that helped radicalize those same violent thugs who murdered police officers. People shared biased hatred of authority figures who have a sworn duty to protect them. Such actions weren't calling for accountability, they were calling for a witch hunt.

The rules of engagement are simple. When a police officer lawfully tells a person to behave a certain way, obey those lawful commands, deal with the repercussions of any wrongdoing you are accused of, and move on with your life.

Disobey these rules of engagement and you might get hurt. Fight, and you may get badly hurt, or die.

Like the unfortunate bar fight between two complete strangers, where one punch kills the other.

Stupid decisions have consequences.

There are 400 police involved killings reported every year in the USA.

There are 11,000 impaired driving deaths in the USA every year.

There are 15,000 homicides every year in the USA.


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Crime and Punishment

Cruel and unusual punishment.

That's the current buzzword associated with the 75 year sentence handed down on the Mountie murderer Justin Bourque.

The only thing I find cruel and unusual about the punishment is the fact that taxpayers have to pay a hundred grand a year to keep this jackass in jail. That's 7.5 million over the course of his sentence.

In fact, probably a lot more than that. A hundred thousand is a modest sum.

It's not the sentence I have issue with. It's the question of whether the death penalty is relevant any more. In Canada, in 1963, the death penalty entered a period of being commuted as a matter of policy. While death sentences could theoretically be carried out, they weren't.

Interestingly enough, On November 30, 1967, Bill C-168 was passed creating a five-year moratorium on the use of the death penalty, except for murders of police and corrections officers.

This was extended in 1973 and in 1976 the a narrow vote to abolish death penalty was a carried out, with an exception for certain circumstances under the Canada Defense Act. The act was upgraded in 1998 and the death penalty in Canada was abolished completely.

There has been one motion to reinstate the death penalty, which was defeated handily in parliament.

A discussion on the PROS and CONS of the death penalty can be found here.

The supreme questions I ask myself aren't, Does he deserve to die for what he did? Is the world a better place without him?
My answer to both of those questions is, yes, absolutely.

The three big questions I ask myself are...

Do I want to be the judge who sentences a man to death?
Do I want to be the man who carries out that punishment?
Would either of these make me a murderer?

Thursday, November 06, 2014

BLASPHEMER!

In a recent BBC article, it discusses an alleged blasphemer with mental health issues being murdered in Pakistan for uttering blasphemies.

Just something to note the next time you are surprised and say, "Oh my God!" Or holy #$%, or Jesus H Christ, or...

Blasphemy!

Moving along.

Rather than go on a rant about my thoughts on ISIS chopping people's heads off, or bludgeoning Blasphemers to death in Pakistan, or murdering soldiers on guard duty and storming the Canadian Parliament, or extremism in all it's ugly forms, I'll just share these videos.









Who needs to write a diatribe when these two videos pretty much sums up my thoughts on ISIS and other like-minded nincompoops.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Is Double Time Really Double Time?

Double bubble, double pounders! You're raking in the cash, right? Double your salary for overtime hours.

From a banking perspective, it sure is nice to have a huge paycheck come in every so often. A financial cushion to double down on the mortgage, or keep up with the cycle of bills, pay off the credit cards. Whatever your financial situation, the bonus money is pleasant.
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From an employer perspective, it might actually make sense to pay people double time instead of train, hire, teach, pay vacation, pay sick days, move people from place to place, pay into their benefits, their insurance, their glasses, their dentists, etc, etc, all the non-salary costs associated to hiring an employee.

For the government, the higher tax bracket that double time puts them in means the government ends up recouping bigger amounts back in taxes as well.

Just something to think about next time you say yes to double time. The paychecks are nice, but you might be saving your employer money in the long run. Not that helping the big man is a bad thing, unless they start to abuse it and it effects your well being.



There comes a time when you need to log those hours and take time off, separate and enjoy your passions in life. Blogging, for instance.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Harper Comes Out of the Closet.

While some members of parliament prepared a bold, if not desperate defense.




Our fearless leader was... definitely not fearless. 





Cowering in a closet as his followers stood ready to defend with weapons of opportunity, as the true heroes, the police and the Sargent at Arms, exchanged gunfire with a deranged madman on the front lines - and killed him.



 But alas, this was less a religious-inspired attack as it was a fringe criminal of society, mental health issues exacerbated by a history of drug abuse, devouring the chance religious garble of the day. 



Police deal with people like him on a daily basis. Obsessed that the government, or aliens, or big brother is tapping into their brains. Devouring propaganda that infests the internet like tiny forest fires flaring up on a dry summer day. Somehow a mix of drugs-meets-mental health-meets religious garble caused him to become dangerous.



 But there is more. Increasingly lax gun laws led this walking mental-health problem to possess a firearm - a feat made easier because restrictions on long guns have eased.



 Throw in some cutbacks, such as with drug rehab programs, mental health care, policing, criminal justice... Much of these budget cuts thanks to the same man who sat cowering in a closet.



 Now, a soldier lays dead, a nation shocked, and our leader finally came out of the closet - sorry for the slight to my gay friends.



One has to ask questions about gun laws, about mental health problems, about justice cutbacks, policing cutbacks... Could this have been averted?







Monday, August 04, 2014

Wild Rose Vow to Repeal Drunk Driving Laws

http://www.reddeeradvocate.com/news/Wildrose_Party_vows_to_repeal_tougher_drunk_driving_regulations_269486021.html

The Wildrose Party is such a forward thinking, intelligent party. Their vow to repeal newer, tougher, impaired driving law is pure genius.

But don't think they aren't serious about impaired driving. They plan to replace the tough new laws with five dedicated traffic-and-police checkstop teams to battle impaired driving in the province. These five teams can cover about 0.00001% of the roads in Alberta at any given time - so drunk drivers beware.

As a reference point, the legal limit for impaired driving in Alberta is 80 mg%. This number is based on a broad recognition among scientists and experts in the field which says that a person's cognitive functions are impaired, regardless of who they are, at 80 mg%.

But every blood-alcohol test the police take is in the favour of the accused. So 80 mg% on a police instrument, is probably closer to 90 mg% if you were to actually take a sample of that person's blood. Furthermore, the police usually won't charge you unless you provide a reading of 100 mg%, just to be extra, extra, extra, extra sure.

So back to the newer, tougher sanctions. According to Alberta law, a warning, or caution, is issued to someone who blows between 50 and 80 mg%.

In practice, the warning on the instrument is issued when they blow between 60 and 100 mg%, because police always give a little leeway to the accused.

Because the instruments are calibrated such that everything is rounded down and minimized, 60 mg% is actually closer to 70 mg%. So if you were to sample the persons blood, a warning would be issued to someone with about 70 to 110 mg%.

So a person who is legally impaired, or almost legally impaired, gets a slap on the wrist. They lose their license for three days. They get their car seized for three days. They don't get charged criminally. They don't have to pay any fines. They pay their tow bill, are inconvenienced, and move on with their lives.

Hopefully, they think to themselves, YIKES! What could have happened if I'd had one more drink?

One more drink might have meant they'd lose their license for a year or more. They'd have a criminal record! Their insurance would go up. They might lose their job. Or in a worst case scenario, they could have run a red light, collided with another vehicle, killed innocent people, devastated a community, and gone on to live with the emotional burden for the rest of their lives.

Sooooooo, if you put it that way, a slap on the wrist really isn't so bad.

But the Wildrose party is right. It's not fair to seize someone's car for being legally impaired, or almost legally impaired.

Who cares if impaired driving is the number one criminal cause of death in Canada?

Businesses could be suffering!

One unidentified group claims it's lost 20% of their business. Which is probably very true. Some businesses do suffer with the stricter impaired driving law, and that's definitely not fair.

For example the business of hospitals suffer because they treat fewer grievously-injured patients  hurt in impaired driving collisions. The knock on effect for physiotherapists, chiropractors, wheelchair manufacturers, medical supply makers, drug companies, etc, etc. All of these businesses suffering from fewer impaired drivers causing grievous injuries to unfortunate, law-abiding citizens.

But don't forget other businesses. Counsellors, psychologists, and social workers who have to work victims families. With fewer victims suffering from their loved ones being ripped from their lives by drunk drivers, these professions suffer as well.

Or the businesses of auto body repair shops. They suffer from fewer collisions.

Civil litigation lawyers, impaired driving lawyers, car companies, etc. The list goes on with those whose businesses suffer with fewer impaired drivers on the road.

(With the new legislation, accused impaired drivers are suspended indefinitely until their charges have been resolved in court. As a result, more are pleading guilty.)

As you can clearly see, the Wildrose party is right. Business is better with more drunk drivers.

Unless you're a tow truck driver helping Police seize the vehicles of drunk drivers. But never mind them.

Or taxi drivers, but they're not important. They're just immigrants anyway.

Or a school teacher who might lose students to impaired drivers.

Or an employer whose star employee, and the future of the company, has died. That could be bad for business.

But some friend of someone in the Wildrose party claims their business went down 20% with the new, stricter impaired driving laws in effect.

So we better listen to them. Scrap the laws and move on. The Wildrose party is just so forward looking!

Friday, May 30, 2014

Canada vs. USA car prices - Get ready for a shock!

So cars are more expensive in Canada than the USA, right? The word is, that for years consumers have been gouged, fleeced, ripped off, bent over and...

Yeah, you get the point.

We are unfairly paying more in Canada for our vehicles than the USA!

Or are we...?

I decided to run the numbers. What I found, really shocked me.

I certainly don't have time to run every single make and model out there. Perhaps USA base models are different. Perhaps not. Taxes, fees, etc. You get the point.

What I found is that in Canada, cars are cheaper!

I picked the first eight brands that popped into my head. I chose what I believed to be the base model of each companies best-selling vehicle. I took the Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price as listed on the Canadian and USA websites for the car companies.




Here's the results...




Ford F150 Base Model

Canada - $16,607
USA - $25,025
Difference - 33% cheaper in Canada


Toyota Corolla

Canada - $14,578
USA - $16,800
% Difference - 13.2% cheaper in Canada

Honda Civic

Canada - $14,476
USA - $18,390
% Difference - 27% cheaper in Canada

Suburu Legacy

Canada - $21,678
USA - $21,695
Difference - $17 cheaper in Canada
% Difference - Negligable

Chevrolet  Impala

Canada - $26,245
USA - $26,860
% Difference - 2.3% cheaper in Canada

Nissan Sentra

Canada - $13,930
USA - $15,990
% Difference - 14.7% cheaper in Canada

Hyundai Sonata

USA - $21,450
Canada - $23,818
% Difference - 11% more expensive in Canada

Volkswagen Golf

USA - $17,995
Canada - $ 17,526
% Difference - 2.6% cheaper in Canada

Don't believe me. Go to the Canadian and USA websites and check for yourselves. Don't forget to do the currency conversion. Prices above are in US dollars.