Playing the Blame Game

“The officer could have taken down a tag number and stopped. You follow them, you don’t push them to go faster. I think they were forced into a high-speed chase and they panicked.”

An interesting thought, to be sure. Does it merit further consideration? Perhaps knowing the context will help. This quote came from the father of a 15-year-old, who died in a crash following. What do you think now?

Rather than engaging in pursuit of a vehicle that exhibits tendencies of an unsafe driver (notably weaving and speeding), should the officer who noticed the erratic behavior have taken down the license number and stopped, letting the vehicle proceed, to whatever end it might find? In a perfect world, where you know everything about every situation and the results that arise from your actions, maybe that would be an option.

But in the real world, our world, which is far from perfect? Absolutely not. The officer had no way of knowing that this was a car full of teenagers out for a joy ride, rather than someone driving after a few too many at the local watering hole. Even if the officer knew that it was teenagers out for a joyride, there would be no evidence that they hadn’t been drinking. Even if there was such evidence, it’s the responsibility of that officer to make every effort to keep the streets safe.

If the driver of the vehicle was weaving and speeding, as it allegedly was, the officer had every right to pursue the vehicle in order to maintain safety for other vehicles. That the driver exhibited horrible judgment and took off, rather than stop for the officer, is no one’s problem except for the driver of the vehicle.

I’m sorry that these seven teenagers died. It’s a tragedy. But blaming someone who should remain blameless – and in fact should receive kudos for doing their job as best they can – isn’t going to help. If, instead of crashing by itself, this car had plowed into a loaded school bus a few minutes after the officer stopped, would it be okay, because the officer didn’t engage in pursuit? Heck no – at that point, they’d be in the limelight because they didn’t stop them when they had the chance.

This is no one’s fault but the driver’s.

Turn Around Already!

Okay, I admit that I’ve probably talked too much about weddings here for any normal straight guy. Sorry, but I’ve got one more observation to make, and I’ll try and stay away for a while.

As far as I can remember, the wedding party always faces the person conducting the service – whether that person is the minister, the justice of the peace or Elvis. That’s fine. Makes sense, because the officiant is the one conducting the proceedings. I have no problem there.

But why in the world do the betrothed face away from the audience? If I go to a wedding (admittedly, not something I’ve done often), why do I want to see some person I’ve never met before, and the backs of the people that I came to watch?

I’m sure there are certainly some valid reasons – the best friend in the front row who makes faces during the cermony, the giggles or the tears in the middle of the vows, the furtive glances between bride and groom. But why is it that this person conducting the wedding, who at best is probably the pastor of your church, gets to witness those moments, while the people you really care about – friends and family – get to watch your butt?

Is It Any Wonder

Not so long ago, the European Union (EU) decided to flex their muscle. You see, President Bush had decided it was a good idea to increase steel tariffs on imported steel in order to give our steel manufacturers more of a fighting chance. Keep the prices artificially high until they have a chance to recover, then we’ll be able to compete fairly. Does anyone notice the problems with this statement?

The EU did. They threatened retalitory tariffs on our exports – products from Harley-Davidson motorcycles to orange juice. Guess what happened. That’s right, Dubya backed down.

Don’t get me wrong – I don’t blame him for doing so. To try and keep up such a farce would be suicide. Where I have a problem is that these tactics exist in the first place. Why is it the place of our government to subsidize industries that can’t make it on their own? Why do they think that this form of protectionism is good for us? This is the very thing that we don’t need.

The problem is that once we set this precedent, it will happen over and over again. Now that they’ve tasted success, the EU wants to taste it again. Just like the last time, they are targeting states seen as crucial to the president’s re-election bid. And just like last time, we will surely cave.

We aren’t in the catbirds seat any longer, America. It’s time to put up or shut up. Instead of listening to our egos, why don’t we speak with our hearts? Rather than letting ourselves get caught up in the minutiae, we ought to just show up and do our jobs. It’s time to crawl out from under the government’s coattails.

Airport Insecurity

The last week has been a bit hectic. Naturally, a lot of that is because of the time of year. Trying to get everything to come together with the house, and make sure plans are straightened out with the visiting relatives, and make some attempt at keeping everyone healthy, it’s not easy.

But in the last week, a grandparent passed away, we’ve had a birthday dinner, one of the kids and a parent has been sick with the flu (or some similar ailment), and I have flown out of town and back for the aforementioned funeral. I’m sure there are things I’m missing, but it makes for a busy week.

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Freedom to Cannibalize

In Germany, a computer expert recently recruited, ate and killed someone he had found on the Internet. Once dead, Mr. Meiwes then ate some more. Apparently the “victim” in this story participated in the process by eating part of his own body. Prior to his death, naturally, and of course he didn’t participate in any further self-consumption after that point.

I’m left wondering about this case, because I can’t seem to see the crime. Now please don’t get me wrong. I’m not particular interested in eating anyone, whether that person joins me or not. But if the “victim” in this case agreed, if they expressed their support by eating their own flesh, why is it that Mr. Meiwes would be guilty?

According to the article linked above, Mr. Meiwes will likely be tried under a “sexual satisfaction” law, as cannibalism isn’t technically illegal. Were he in the United States, I’d suspect Mr. Meiwes would be guilty of some form of assisted euthanasia, and I don’t understand why the government won’t allow that either.

What is a “sexual satisfaction” law, anyway? Are you not allowed to get satisfaction from sex while in Germany? Or is it only illegal if the satisfaction comes from consuming another person’s genitalia, so that if the two had dined on pinky fingers, it would have been okay? Perhaps it’s only a problem if this happens in the process of the sex act, in which case I wonder again why the government of any country thinks that they should be able to dictate normalcy within a relationship between two consenting adults.

Even if one of them isn’t around anymore because of the actions.

Helpful Web Pages

“Some local providers have run out of flu vaccine or have limited supplies. To receive a flu shot, call your doctor or local health department to see if they have vaccine remaining.”

Where would you find this piece of wisdom? On the Internet, of course, in an article entitled Where to Go for Shot. Let’s just say that I think I could have figured this one out myself.

Postal Disservice

The other day, my wife and I went to pick up a package that had some postage due. No worries, I figured we’d jump into the car, breeze through the line at the post office and be done in no time. No such luck.

First, we had to find the place. Apparently the package isn’t saved at the regular post office (the one with the pretty interior and heat), but at the carrier annex. We found this by looking at the address as we neared the post office and realizing we were in the wrong place. After finally finding the annex, which is not advertised, and is hidden at the back of a truck rental building, we had to figure out how to get inside.

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