Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Today’s Charming Gentleman

In the news today is a report from a local police department concerning the arrest of a guy for threatening his ex-girlfriend with a machete.

According to the police, this charmer had a domestic dispute with the lady, during which she locked herself inside his vehicle.  He then took a machete out of the car's trunk – doesn’t everyone’s car have a machete in the trunk? – and smashed out the driver's side window.

The ex-girlfriend then ran off but Mister Congeniality gave chase, wielding the machete and swinging it at her several times.

The victim told police that when her former beau heard police sirens, he stopped pursuing her and tried to flee.  But the responding officers located him and placed him under arrest, charged with aggravated assault.

The police report noted that the machete has been secured as evidence.  Thankfully, there were no machete wounds on the woman to be documented.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Out of His Pocket

This post is aimed at anyone visiting this page who may be a cop-hater.  Ponder this:

In Michigan this past weekend, Emmett Township Public Safety Officer Ben Hall was on his patrol Saturday when he pulled over a vehicle for a traffic violation.

He then noticed a small child in the car who was wearing a seat belt but not in a child's car seat. The young mother told Officer Hall that she understood the importance of having the child in a car seat, but could not afford one because of her limited income.

Rather than give the woman a traffic ticket, Officer Hall had her pull into a Walmart parking lot, where he went inside and purchased a child seat for her.

It bears repeating:  Rather than give the woman a traffic ticket, he purchased a child seat for her.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Are the Inmates Running the Asylum?

In the news currently is the controversy over small Goddard College in Vermont having invited Mumia Abu-Jamal to be a serve as a graduation speaker.  Those opposed to the invitation are on solid footing:  Abu-Jamal was convicted of the murder of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner in 1981 and is anything but repentant.

There has been a long-standing controversy surrounding Abu-Jamal’s trial and conviction, and while both have withstood numerous appeals, our purpose here is not to debate that aspect of the matter.  Rather, our attention is on the small note in the news articles about the Goddard invitation, which states that “The students decided on Abu-Jamal to deliver the address.”

If the students selected Abu-Jamal, what does that tell us about the quality of the education they have received and the values they have been taught?  Being open to opposing viewpoints is one thing, giving a platform to an unrepentant cop-killer is another.

This same note indicating that Abu-Jamal was selected by the students reminds us of the protests against Rutgers having chosen Condoleeza Rice as a commencement speaker not long ago.  Student protests at Rutgers resulted in Rice being replaced.  Rice’s crime?  Being associated with the administration of George W. Bush and it’s Iraq policy.

See we see in the Rutgers case an example of students being closed to opposing viewpoints, and we see in the Goddard case an example of students embracing a felon.  Neither reflects the mature thinking that colleges and universities are supposed to foster.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Lordy, Lawtey! Where’s Waldo?

The City Council of a small Florida town named Waldo has voted to disband its police department following controversy surrounding the department’s speed enforcement operations.

Waldo is located along US Route 301, a busy north-south road that runs on a diagonal between the Jacksonville area and Gainesville, Ocala, and points further south.  Having gained notoriety as a genuine “speed trap,” ensnaring snowbirds, Florida football fans, and just plain folk, the Waldo City Council voted 4-to-1 in late September to eliminate the department not long after both the chief and interim chief resigned because of state investigations into departmental corruption and an illegal ticket quota.

Route 301 is a multi-lane highway, and when approaching Waldo the speed limit changes from 65 to 55 to 45 to 35 over a very small distance, catching inattentive drivers in great numbers.  While a 35-mph speed limit is unreasonable for a highway such as US Route 301 in Waldo, the controversy appears not to be rooted in the posted speed limit.  We have seen nothing to indicate that the speed limits themselves are being challenged.  Instead, the focus has been on enforcement methods and departmental corruption.

For the moment at least, the county sheriff’s office is providing policing for the town.

But not far up Route 301 from Waldo is the even smaller town of Lawtey, which has similarly earned a widespread reputation as a speed trap.  So far at least, Lawtey seems to have avoided allegations of departmental corruption, although at least one individual officer was accused of offering to take cash payment on the spot from speeders.

We have traveled through Waldo and Lawtey on numerous occasions, and we have so far not been cited for speeding.  We attribute this to the ample signage alongside the road leading into the towns, and to the fact that our vehicles are equipped with what a family member once dubbed a “factory-installed radar detector” – a speedometer.