Jun 302017

I had something a little lighter in mind today, but social media blew up yesterday with something I find rather morally disturbing, so I’ll have a word about that instead.

It seems Christine Braswell returned to her SUV in a North Carolina Wal-Mart parking lot to find Robert Raines inside it, going through her purse. When Raines ran away with her purse, Braswell pursued in her SUV and struck him with it (at some considerable speed, as the video shows, and viewer discretion is advised):

Yes, the perpetrator is wrong, and yes, the victim is correct to be angry. But attempting to run him over with an SUV is a response so far out of proportion in its severity that I’m shocked (and quite disappointed) that intelligent people are arguing about it. (And they are, in considerable numbers.) A purse is stuff. Everything in it can be replaced. Its theft does not justify assault with a deadly weapon (with which she is being charged). She could easily have killed him. How is what she did any different from shooting at him? Would that have been OK?

Oh, heavens. Pleased to see victims fighting back, folks are replying. If he’d not snatched the purse, he’d not have been in that position. Blah, blah, blah. I went back and forth on a friend’s Facebook page last night (with a police officer, of all people) whose argument eventually boiled down to moral relativism. When I said “Was she morally wrong? Please answer yes or no,” he wouldn’t answer.

If otherwise seemingly well-adjusted people really do think that this woman’s momentary inconvenience vs. this man’s life is not an absurd construction, but rather a rousing and substantive problem that meets minimum requirements for civilized discourse, then we’re farther gone than I thought.

 Posted by at 2:06 pm
Jun 292017
  • I have such grand plans for the long weekend in terms of getting things done at home. I better sit down and make a realistic list tonight or there’s a legitimate risk I won’t do any of it. (Self-awareness is the first step.)
  • Alien: Covenant was good, but not great. I’ll catch the rest of these films (because Ridley Scott), but I think it’s slowly becoming irrefutable that the only two excellent films in the series were released in 1979 and 1986.
  • Several reviews in the hopper, both here and at Rocket City Mom. Watch these pages.
  • So I’m eight years late to Words with Friends, but I’m enjoying it, thanks to an old friend’s invitation. It’s not the most stable application in the world, though. Seems like it hangs about once daily.
  • Nathan’s making sustained racket about getting his aquarium going again. He wants swordtails. We’ll do that and see how it goes.
  • I have a high school classmate who has taken a job in New Mexico and will soon leave the area. I did some poking around on Wikipedia yesterday looking at where she’s going to live and so forth, and I’m excited for her.
  • Looks a little damp, but probably without oppressive heat, for our extended weekend. I’ll take it. I can certainly remember Independence Days that were miserably hot.
 Posted by at 12:02 pm
Jun 272017

The signs pummeled us just as we crossed into my sister’s home state last week. She had warned me about aggressive speed limit enforcement in Virginia, and indeed, we were all of two miles across the state line when we passed our first pair of cruisers in the median—one aimed northbound, the other southbound.

After I determined in two different speed traps that a plain-Jane minivan with the cruise set at 75 (in a 70) wasn’t going to attract attention, I relaxed.

But I did take an opportunity to entertain my family with a story about that sign, SPEED LIMITS ENFORCED BY AIRCRAFT. (You know how we all have those things we should have learned/realized sooner growing up than we did?)

We had those signs on I-20 through Alabama when I was growing up, and I’d see them in the little strip of the Florida panhandle we had to drive through to see my mom’s parents. And until I was about 10, I just assumed there was a cop in a Cessna up there, and when he nailed your sorry ass, he was landing that airplane on the highway to give you a ticket.

Silly, right? Imagine the logistics of such; the risk to life and property; the costs. What a dumb thing to think!

So, when I finally realized how stupid that was, I thought “ahhhh. They land a helicopter to give you a ticket.”

See how smart I got after I realized my mistake? Sigh.

That lasted a couple of years, until I actually put it together that law enforcement pilots, when they were there at all, were relaying (sometimes) radar readings, but (mostly) timing measurements, to ground officers (you know, in cars), who would then stop the motorists.

I question how many of these manned flights occur these days, simply because of questionable ROI. But Lea pointed out during the discussion that this could be a highly effective use for a law enforcement UAV.

Be careful out there. And remember, even smart kids think dumb things sometimes.

(Thanks to the Limestone County Sheriff’s Office for the photographs of actual law enforcement aircraft.)

 Posted by at 10:08 am
Jun 232017

We’re back from visiting my sister and her family in Williamsburg, Virginia. We saw Jamestown, Colonial Williamsburg, Busch Gardens, and the USS Wisconsin, in and around a lot of good food and laughs.

The roller coaster diet plan is solid, but it wasn’t grand enough. I only got to ride Loch Ness and Verbolten, missing out on all of the rest. (Verbolten was close, so I might have actually achieved that one with my loss.) Here is Nathan taking a turn on the Griffon, the one I most regretted:

I still need a good four inches off to get into the others. That’s excellent motivation for next year.

More later. Today is a day of recovery.

 Posted by at 2:09 pm
Jun 192017

As I type, my mother has been gone for 16 years; her mother, for 14.

But because of the haphazard ways they brought to some things, my sister still occasionally finds a box of photos we haven’t been through. This most recent one we’ve examined might be the best one yet.

If I’ve seen the photos before, usually I can remember going through them, even decades later. I pick up the narrative of the collection and start remembering other photos that I’m about to encounter that I haven’t yet; stuff like that.

But this box has a lot of photos I’ve never seen, including a truly amazing photo of my parents, as well as photos of my childhood home under construction.

I’ll begin sharing them with you in an upcoming post. Tonight I am finding them incredible because they’re supercharging the reordering of things in my mind that was already underway. I have some rooms I’m trying to expand. I have others I need to keep around, but move some things out of. And finally, I have some I need to brick over and forget about.

I guess that’s not really all that novel. But I’m badly overdue, so it feels so.

More soon.

 Posted by at 9:35 pm
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