chris_gerrib: (Default)
In my inbox, presented without comment:

Have you ever been duped by a burglary myth? There are plenty out there, and it could happen to anyone. But to truly outsmart burglars, you have to arm yourself with the facts. Read on to find out the truth behind 4 of the most common burglary myths.

MYTH: Most burglaries occur at night

The majority of burglaries take place between 10AM and 3PM, while you’re at work

MYTH: Most burglars pick locks or use high-tech equipment to get in

According to the DOJ, burglars most frequently enter through an open or unlocked door or window

MYTH: Most burglars have little to no experience breaking into homes

According to a study by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 82% of burglars are repeat offenders

MYTH: Burglars don’t target gated or restricted-access communities

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, homes in gated and restricted communities have nearly the same burglary rates as homes with direct outside access

Take care,

SimpliSafe Home Security
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
It's Tuesday, so have some links:

A) My book The Mars Run is featured on eBookSoda. Please share the love.

B) In regards to Black Lives Matter, a great video: Tolerance is for cowards.

C) Point Roberts, USA - An American city stranded at the tip of a Canadian peninsula.

D) Barack Obama on 5 days that shaped his Presidency.
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
I tried to watch Trump's acceptance speech last night. I got maybe five minutes in, to the point where he would wave his magic wand on Inauguration Day and Make It All Better, when, in the interests of not damaging my TV screen, I shut off the device. Herewith, I'll point you at a pair of articles and just say "like they said."

Like they said - Jim Hines on the latest stupid police shooting. At some point (well in the past) one has to stop calling these random accidents and consider them a pattern.

Also like they said - the real costs of the practice of the investigatory vehicle stop, the vehicular equivalent of the stop-and-frisk. This is where a cop pulls you over for little or no reason and engages in a fishing expedition to see if they can charge you with something. It's a modestly kinder version of the Gestapo "papers please" drill.
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
Some links regarding policing in the USA that have been floating around in my Internet. I do find it hopeful that some of the links below are from sites that are conservative and usually heavily support police. Reality is not just for breakfast.

A) What are we asking cops to do? Dallas police chief David Brown: “We’re asking cops to do too much in this country. Every societal failure, we put it off on the cops to solve. Not enough mental health funding, let the cops handle it. Here in Dallas we got a loose dog problem; let’s have the cops chase loose dogs. Schools fail, let’s give it to the cops. That’s too much to ask. Policing was never meant to solve all those problems.”

B) A very conservative site notes that every organization has bad actors and we as a society need to perceive that these bad actors will be dealt with. This is not the perception when it comes to police and that's a problem.

C) I'm not a fan of Newt Gingrich, but occasionally he gets hit by reality and allows himself to respond appropriately. To wit: “It took me a long time, and a number of people talking to me through the years to get a sense of this,” Gingrich said. “If you are a normal, white American, the truth is you don’t understand being black in America and you instinctively under-estimate the level of discrimination and the level of additional risk.”

D) Something that's become apparent to me as well - some cops seem to have an instinctive and deep-seated sense of threat from a black man. Combine this with poor training and training which emphasizes a rapid escalation to deadly force and you've got a toxic mixture where people are going to get killed.


Jul. 8th, 2016 09:56 am
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
I'm planning on being out of pocket today, so a brief thought. For the record, I am against civilians shooting police AND against police shooting civilians.
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
Police Shootings and the Catholic Church

So I read an interesting article from a conservative news source entitled You Don’t Have To Be Black Lives Matter To Support Police Accountability. It's a bit light on root causes, but it does have a nice bit on "virtue cloaking."

Basically, virtue cloaking, well, I'll just quote the article: When a profession commands our respect, we often feel tempted to “virtue-cloak” it, insisting against all opposition that members of that profession really are what we know they should be. This is how people end up defending clearly bad police shootings, or saying criticizing police has a "chilling effect" and leads to higher crime. It's also how the Catholic Church ignored pedophilia in its ranks for far too long.

Virtue cloaking is an excuse, and like most excuses it stinks. Having said that, understanding why somebody is doing something is frequently helpful in suggesting alternative behaviors.

Plus Hilary Clinton

So I saw the news conference in which Clinton will not be criminally charged for not securing classified information. I suspect that an unspoken reason for not charging her is the high bullshit quotient of what we classify. Did you know our targeted assassination via flying robot program is top secret? In any event, the whole affair is why I'm not a big Clinton fan - it's too slick by half.
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
"A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on," said Winston Churchill. Today's lie is that Sharia police are legally patrolling the streets of Germany.

Here's the truth. In September 2014, five German mooks (admittedly radical Islamists) put on red hi-vis vests with the English words "Sharia Police" on them and walked the streets of Wuppertal, a town in Germany. They made sure to get photographed doing so, and their "police activity" consisted of telling people to not go to bars.

Nobody over the age of five thought these mooks were police (the German police wear yellow hi-vis with the word "Polizei" on them, for starters) and they didn't try to arrest anybody. They were, in fact, arrested by the real police and charged. A lower court ruled in their favor but an appeals court ordered them tried. While all the legal wrangling was going on, our mooks were patrolling their gardens and living rooms.

It was, in short, a photo-op, staged to create a propaganda overreaction in English-speaking countries. It worked, thanks to the same pants-wetters running to vote for Donald Trump.
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
Here in the Chicago area, the Chicago PD, under heavy legal pressure, released the video of Laquan McDonald getting shot 16 times by Officer Jason Van Dyke. The shooting happened 14 months ago, but we're just now seeing it. The video is all over the Internet - Google it if you want to see it.

I'll tell you what it shows. It shows an execution. Van Dyke fired 10 seconds after arriving on scene, and was in no way threatened. The various governing bodies of the City of Chicago, who've had this video for over a year, knew that almost immediately, and paid $5 million of city taxpayer funds to the McDonald family before a lawsuit was filed.

There is clearly a problem, and not just in Chicago, but nationwide, over how we as a society deal with over-aggressive police.
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
Today is the calm before the storm. At work, things will get busy next week with meetings and a branch closing. This weekend, I'm working a festival for Rotary, and Tuesday night we have our first food for kids packing session. Somewhere in all of this I need to pick up a costume and pack for my cruise.

ETA: Have Two Links

1) Thoughts on 9/11. Money quote: A few sad teenagers have committed far, far more domestic terror attacks than all the Islamic militants in the world over the past decade, and that is an outcome I think very few would have predicted, myself included, in the aftermath of 9/11. I’m sure the Rudy Guiliani set would love to take credit for the lack of attacks, but I think any serious expert on stopping domestic terrorism attacks would agree that the only way to bat as close to 1000 as we have is if your enemy is fictional.

2) Once again, there is no 'war on cops'. Money quote: So far, 2015 is on pace to see 35 felonious killings of police officers. If that pace holds, this year would end with the second lowest number of murdered cops in decades.
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
Been saving this up...

A) An interesting thought on police misconduct. The author compares fear of police as equivalent to the fear of terrorism. Both are random events that could happen to anybody anywhere, where as other forms of violence can in theory be avoided.

B) What do you eat in Antarctica? The hot dog soup actually looks pretty good, but then one does not get to be my size by being a picky eater.

C) The title says it all Yes, Virginia, people of color do fucking read SF/F.

D) Speaking of science fiction, an interesting anthology having a Kickstarter.

E) Here's a video on the cause of the Civil War:

Was the Civil War About Slavery?

New Video! "Was the Civil War About Slavery?"What caused the Civil War? Did the North care about abolishing slavery? Did the South secede because of slavery? Or was it about something else entirely...perhaps states' rights? Col. Ty Seidule, history professor at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, settles the debate once and for all.For more information on the Civil War, check out The West Point History of the Civil War, an interactive e-book that brings the Civil War to life in a way that's never been done. Click here ->

Posted by PragerU on Monday, August 10, 2015
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
I think most people have heard something about the arrest of Sandra Bland. I haven't said much, but I find my feelings best captured by this article. Titled, "Sandra Bland's Arrest Wasn't Racism; It Was Something Even Worse" the article says:

Encinia [arresting officer] may have treated Bland differently because she was black. We can't read his mind. But it's much more likely he treated her the way he did because she didn't exhibit blind obedience to his every whim, something he was trained not to tolerate and Americans of all political persuasions seem to have acquiesced to without question.

It shouldn't be that way, not here, the land of the free and the home of the brave.
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
Wake-up Call #1

So, last night I was dreaming that I was going sky-diving with the Pope, as one does in dreams. It was my second jump (in the dream - in reality I'm highly allergic to jumping out of perfectly good airplanes and have never sky-dived) and had pulled my ripcord when the phone rang. It was 4:50 in the AM and our managed network provider had detected a problem, which fortunately wasn't as big a problem as they thought.

Wake-up Call #2

The police officer I spoke of yesterday got a wake-up call; he resigned the force. I don't know the man's history prior to this event, so I can't comment if resignation is sufficient*, but apparently the officer is at least getting a clue.

Wake-up Call #3

The inimitable Eric Flint has a long and on-point response to Brad Torgersen It's well worth a read. A phrase of Eric's I shall steal shamelessly borrow is: [in reference to the deathless prose of Mr. John C. Wright] This is an example of what I think of as the Saudi School of Prose. No noun may go out in public unless she is veiled by grandiloquence and accompanied by an adjective.

* Nor do I know if there were other mitigating circumstances at play. For all I know the man's dog died or he had other personal problems that he shouldn't, but did, bring to work.
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
As you may have heard, over the weekend in Texas a pool party got a bit out of hand, and the police were called. A police sergeant ended up pulling his gun at various attendees. This was after said sergeant (literally) ran around like a chicken with his head cut off, screaming, swearing and issuing contradictory orders to the other attendees. Having watched the video, his actions were textbook for how to thoroughly fuck up a situation.

Reminder, kids:

1) Never point a gun at somebody you're not prepared to kill.

2) You really should try to de-escalate a situation.

3) Keep calm.

ETA: Like this guy said.

ETA, Much Later: In fairness to the officer in question, I should note that I don't know if this was an aberration caused by some personal issue or standard operating procedure. Unfortunately, (says the IT guy who once crashed two servers in one week) sometimes we get zapped for even aberrant behavior.
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
As you may have heard, we bought a bank over the weekend. It's meant that I've spent an inordinate amount of time stuck in traffic on I-294 heading north of O'Hare to work at the new bank. Yippee. Have a couple of thoughts:

A) The epic inefficiency of secret police. Basically, if the police unit is a secret, how does anybody know to call them? Also, how do they find out about whatever it is they work on?

B) An interesting post on matters maritime: Why Should Captains Go Down With Their Ships?

C) This article bills itself as the real story behind the demise of the streetcar in America. General Motors contributed to it, but mostly it wasn't GM's fault.
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
I'll be out of pocket tomorrow and all weekend, so here's the last post of the week.

Security In America

A two-fer from View From The Porch: First, our obsession with safety is rubbing off on the Kidz These Days and using drones to smuggle stuff into prisons. Tamara at "Porch" notes that a pistol can be airlifted by not-that-large of a drone. I have a story somewhere on my hard drive from a few years back of a prison break (from a robot-guarded prison) being facilitated by homemade cruise missiles.

Ooh, Pretty Pictures

Thanks to extra-clear water due to ice melt, old shipwrecks in Lake Michigan are visible from the air.
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
A few lighter thoughts for a snowy "spring" Friday:

A) From Gin and Tacos, the interesting story of Squanto.

B) When Lieutenant Colin Powell met Sergeant Elvis Presley.

C) Ever have somebody ask multiple polite questions in bad faith while demanding that you respond to them in detail? It's called sealioning.

D) In the "water is wet - pictures at 11" news department: police body cameras are only effective when police can't turn them off.

E) From the writer and friend Tim Akers: a bit of business.

F) For those of us who are our family's IT support department:
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
Two brief thoughts:

1) Comes news today that the city of Ferguson, MO, was running its police and court system not to enforce justice but to make money. This was done by every means from trivial like not opening up the window to accept payments to serious like issuing arrest warrants any time somebody didn't pay. Oh, and they issued thousands of tickets and warrants for "manner of walking" AKA jaywalking.

2) Via satellite, a visual image of snow cover in the US over the last three years. Basically, the west is getting no snow while the east is getting hammered. No climate change here people - nothing to see, move along.
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
It snowed in Chicago again last night, and then turned stupid cold. The roads coming in this morning were slick as snot, but I made it. Yippee. To celebrate (or whatever) have some links.

A) An interesting article on Maine's Indians and their extensive seafaring activities.

B) Two authors at different stages of their career talk money: Kameron Hurley who's not making the big bucks and Jim C. Hines who is.

C) A long-serving cop and military man lists his problems with the Garner case. The tl;dr version is "why did there need to be an arrest in the first place?" and "Garner's not actually resisting." Worth a read.

D) Over the weekend, I finished the book version of Gillian Flynn's novel Gone Girl. In the book, Amy is marginally more sympathetic than in the movie. But we're talking 85% vs. 90% here. The author says it's time for some unsympathetic female characters.
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
A Serious Thought: Police

It should be obvious, but in case it isn't, I am no more in favor of random people randomly shooting police than I am of police randomly shooting people. Also, calling for "justice" for the victim of a police shooting is not the same as calling for violence against police.

Regarding the NYPD's apparent heartburn with the Mayor: We live in a democracy, and government officials including the police work for the people. The people elect representatives to represent them. The Mayor represents and is therefore the boss of the police. It is not only the right but the duty of any boss to investigate and make sure that their subordinates are conducting themselves appropriately.

Less Serious Thought #1 - Ascension Night 3

I finally watched night three of SyFy's Ascension. I found no real surprises.

Less Serious Thought #2 - Guardians of the Galaxy

I also watched Guardians of the Galaxy on pay-per-view. Man, that was a really entertaining movie! Yeah, the science and the villains were comic-book cardboard, but done entertainingly. It moved up on my Hugo list.


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