Having the liberty to be a douchebag doesn’t mean you should use it…

A recent video posted on TruthSeekerDaily.com details the encounter of a Libertarian Open Carry Protester vs. 6 Police Officers.  I have to say, I’m a little disgusted by what transpires in the video.  (Warning:  The douchebag – I mean protester – uses the foul language in this video).

Here’s what I have to say about encounters such as this.  Government is nothing more than a collection of individual people organized to maintain social order.  Although there are many, many differences with a corporate entity, it does have commonalities that are key to remember (organization hierarchy, mission statements, measureable objectives, etc.).  That said, effectively dealing with government means effectively dealing with the agents of government.  Essentially, you’ve gotta be willing to be a people person.  This noticeable demonstration of douchebaggery is a ridiculous example of ignoring that.

I think it’s safe to say there are numerous example of government officials overstepping their bounds.  This is not one such case.  Police officers do not have easy jobs, and there are probably ten men and women out there more than willing to point a gun at an officer and shoot for every one of these “peaceful” protesters exercising their rights.  I won’t say that officers have the authority to do what they did, but I also won’t say the actions of this particular individual are justifiable.  The man was wrong, and he was a douchebag to boot.  In fact, the officer went so far as to say “…can I just explain something to you, work with me here?”  That’s hardly the comments of an “scumbag” police officer.

Our interactions with people are both learnable and teachable moments that we need to take advantage of, none more so than interactions involving the agents charged with protecting the safety and welfare of our communities.  This was one such instance where a 2nd year law student, because of course 2Ls obviously know more than veteran police officers, could have communicated in a more interactive and engaging manner instead of being an ass.  As someone who values my liberty quite a bit, I’m actually kind of pissed this child made these officers more likely to react aggressively themselves towards similar situations in the future.  Furthermore, a chance to educate them about their responsibilities as government agents was just missed.  Someone who has a greater degree of intelligence might recognize the long term goals of protecting our freedom are better served with some warmth and kindness.  I suppose they don’t teach you that until you’re a 3L, though…

Grow up, douchebag.  You’re the reason we can’t have nice things.

Might We Teach Some Common Sense, Please?

Yesterday, the Marietta Daily Journal reported that an upstanding young man was arrested and given a felony weapons possession charge.  Normally, we’d probably shrug our shoulders and say, “Good!  Another violent thug busted!”  Except, the case is not so cut and dry.  Furthermore, it raises serious questions about how and why we treat students in such a fashion.  We have become so prepared to other trying to hurt us that we have become hyper-sensitive to any “potential” threat and therefore cannot distinguish real risks from faux.  It’s a problem that our communities need addressed.

According to the MDJ, this all started with an anonymous tip that homeboy was smokin’ the refer and “smoke” was rising from his car and from there the knife was eventually found.  You can read the account of the entire incident here.

Here are some of the telling points that stuck out to me in the story:

  • Under closer examination, it was clear that the contraband in question wasn’t an ordinary pocket knife but an EMT rescue knife. Williams had placed it in his car with the knowledge of his parents for a very specific reason.”
  • Andrew was in a terrible car accident in February where he had to bust the window out and start dragging his friends out because he thought the car was going to blow up, and literally two weeks after that he went out and bought an EMT rescue knife.”
  • If found guilty, the weapons charge carries a fine of up to $10,000 and two to 10 years in prison.”

Here’s the problem I have with this whole incident.  Administrators and public safety are failing to distinguish between real potential threats and those that are not a consideration at all.  As a result, young men like Andrew Williams are not given the credit deserved for being responsible young people, and those that are risks don’t get the due attention they need in order to prevent something tragic from occurring.

Our laws compel education for young people, and that means for the vast majority of students it’s attending the public schoolhouses.  At the schoolhouse – which the students are legally required to attend – they have minimally protected constitutional rights that are far, far less protective than regular society.  More than that, our administrators begin to assume the worst about all of them – they’re all criminals, they’re all violent, they’re all dangerous.  At the very least, the assumption is that in instances such as these.  This is not the first time that an overreaction has led to criminal charges for a student that did nothing wrong.

We’ve become this society that tries to protect ourselves against every conceivable threat instead of really targeting the big risks and work our way down.  It’s understandable we fear the Newton tragedies, but for some reason we don’t ask lawmakers to institute policies which allow resources to flow to at-risk youth.  Instead, we target young men like Andrew and make sure that people see we have a “zero tolerance” policy and continue to be tough.  It may make soccer moms feel good, but I don’t believe we need to sacrifice a few lambs to make the herd feel secure.

What we need to focus on is ensuring that administrators and public safety at our school houses have the necessary training and flexibility to use discretion effectively in instance such as this.  After all, while the adminstrator search Andrew’s car, undoubtedly a student with real problems (emotions, family, learning difficulties) was not getting the administrative attention he needed.  Therefore, that real problem is still festering and could possibly explode into something far, far worse than finding an EMT knife in a vehicle’s console.

American Football Tidbits – September 16, 2013

Manning Sucks because Manning is oh so good…

The Manning Bowl ended in predictable fashion with the Older-Better Brother winning against the Younger-Worse Brother.  Here’s an interesting tidbit about the Broncos, though.  In addition to being the best team ever (statistically true), the team has scored 90 points in two games, Peyton Manning in on pace for 72 touchdowns and no interceptions, and the defense – sans Champ Bailey and Von Miller – has 6 interceptions and 5 sacks.  Pretty impressive stuff.

The best part?  They’re not evening playing their best ball yet.

Seattle is the real deal.

I don’t necessarily mean the American football team, although last night showed they have some talent.  Beating the defending NFC Champion 49ers 29-3 is no small feat, and they are no bad team.  Seattle may look to a Super Bowl berth where, if true to form, they’ll play an old AFC West rival…duh, the Denver Broncos.

No, Seattle may be the real deal as a sports city.  Hard to believe, but it’s a very real possibility.  Seattle’s sports district is actually top-notch, with both Century Link and Safeco Field in close proximity to some good bars and such.  It isn’t Wrigley, but it certainly ain’t Turner.  More than that, the Link is raucous!  Set a world record for loudest stadium last night, and it routinely fits 40k+ for MLS matches.  So, is it safe to say that Seattle is legit as a sports city?  Well, yes and no…

…they did lose a basketball franchise to Oklahoma City.

Get Excited

Pittsburgh.  Cincinnati.  Monday Night.

Get your knitting needles, and don’t try to stab yourself out of boredom halfway through the game.  However, ol’ Georgia boy A.J. Green is playing tonight…so I guess that means something…anything?

 

Why I think Karen Handel might be on to something here…

Being out of the loop for the last couple of months, I tried in a limited fashion to keep up with things on the home front.  Being a consultant type guy that dreams of big things, that means continuing to be a consumer of information about the large Senate race taking place.  I’ve not minced any words on this – I’m a big Karen Handel supporter – so naturally I look at the race from that perspective, too.

In meeting a good friend last night, he asked me my thoughts on the Senate race.  One thing that I made a comment on was that I thought Handel’s method of campaigning was pretty interesting and effective.  She’s constantly asking for input from people, making them stakeholders in what the campaign does as a level unseen by other campaigns.  It may not seem like much to some folks, but I think asking for public input on a billboard is a brilliant campaign tactic.  People get engaged and the inquiry gives them some ownership of decision-making.  In an era where consultants and politicos like to banter back and forth about who has the most money, it’s often overlooked that successful candidates ask the most important question first – who best communicates with the most people?

I’m not on the inside of Handel’s campaign, but I certainly feel like it at some level.  These aren’t big decisions, and this one billboard doesn’t mean that all billboards, radio ads, television spots, mail pieces, etc. etc. are going to be “focus grouped.”  That said, this draws people in.  Besides the obvious benefits of getting an opportunity to make a fundraising pitch and identify volunteers, the campaign gets to actually involve people.  After all, it’s what the grassroots of the Republican Party has been clamoring for – involvement in the decision-making of Washington.

To be sure, Paul Broun’s got a legion of diehards (some of which follow him like a cult leader – not all, but some) and that doesn’t always mean a winning team is put together.  There is a far and wide difference between movement and progress.  Paul Broun can make hundreds of people swoon for his libertarian leanings, and that’s fine.  I haven’t once heard him ask people, “Here are some options, what do you think?”  Communication is as much listening as it is speaking.

That’s all anecodotal, and one billboard a victorious campaign does not make.  That said, it’s a subtle, but still very profound, way to build a network of support for a woman that is already a strong name in Georgia.

So, what did I miss while I was gone?

For the six of you that read this blog, I’ve been in Alabama for the last couple of months (you know, that place over there yonder where people talk funny…).  So, here are a couple of the things I noticed that I missed while I was gone.

1.  I am resigned to suffer through a slew of special elections.

I left for a few months to work in a special election.  During my time away – and without asking for my advice – Barry Loudermilk, my personal choice for the 11th Congressional District, resigned his seat in the Georgia Senate in order to focus on his Congressional candidacy.  No problem, unless you ask Majority Whip Ed Lindsey, who made it clear he would not abandon the people of his district.

LindseyPost

Naturally, some were none too pleased with this announcement.  Understandably so if you ask me, but also understandable Lindsey would make this statement.  This is the nature of campaigns.  Candidates contrast themselves from one another.  Ergo, I can understand where Lindsey is coming from on this, especially considering he has a real challenge in this race to earn his spot.  Loudermilk commands a strong following in a very significant part of the district (Bartow and Cherokee Counties), Pridemore hails from Cobb, and Barr has been in Congress before (even if his new hair color has not).  Lindsey’s gotta do something, and as a consultant type, I’d suggest to him this is the best route.

That said, there’s not much else to fall back on.  Okay, dude, so you won’t “abandon” your post.  I’m not entirely sure why this makes you a better choice for me here in Cobb.  I really don’t know what that means for folks up in Cherokee or Bartow, either.  I do think people go a little deeper than that.

The campaign season is long and I’m sure that I didn’t really miss all that much here.  I think the real fireworks might come with the fact that there are some differences among the candidates on issues and other stuff (like, ya know, running for President…as a Libertarian Party candidate).  In the meantime, we have a slew of special elections coming up because of resignations and such.

2.  “Hell No We Won’t Go!” says Karen Handel

My homeboys and homegirls in the Cobb County YRs hosted Karen Handel for the September meeting, and she made it pretty clear – she would not support U.S. intervention in Syria.  She also expressed support for the Fair Tax, defunding Obamacare through the continuing resolutions, and a general conservative position.

BanksBad

However, if you asked some of the folks that saw her speak, they were less impressed.  One such commenter on the event said “Better than nothing but let’s not give too much praise.”  This commenter earlier had also called the Cobb YR chairman a Nazi for the audacious standard of using the Cobb YR page for informational purposes – also a joy that I didn’t have the opportunity to be a part of while I remained away.

I’m just gonna make this thing pretty damn clear – if your retort for someone giving you an answer you don’t like is to accuse them of being a murderer of 11 million people and generally the biggest piece of garbage in human history, it better be a retort to someone calling for the extermination of 11 million people.  Otherwise, come up with something clever, sprinkled with some honesty and intellectualism, and you’ve got yourself a retort.  Otherwise, shutup.

3.  Home

Yes, it’s that simple.  I missed home.

It’s been just about 2.5 years since I moved to Georgia.  In that time, I’ve done what I feel is a pretty good job integrating myself into a professional and social network, establishing my name (mostly good), and creating an environment for myself where I can function.  Something I don’t really think I considered as much as I should have is that deeper, more meaningful relationships were forged with people I never knew existed prior to moving here.

I’ve come to realize that home is far more than an abstract concept.  There are tangible, real bonds with people that you can fully experience.  I missed laughing at the witty jokes of certain folks, or the genuine sense of accomplishment when working with clients.  I really wanted the feeling of my dogs sitting on my lap and the tight embrace of my girlfriend’s hugs.  Those are very, very real experiences that I simply don’t have when I’m not home…and Georgia’s home.  No doubt about it.

That all stands against the backdrop of visiting my family in Wyoming a few months ago, too.  I love the fact that I’m a Westerner.  That rugged individualism we cherish out there will always be a large part of the person I define myself as.  It’s not home anymore, though.  I may be a Georgian by choice and not by birth, but that doesn’t make it any less real to me.  In fact, I feel a sense of accomplishment knowing that the Peach State is where my strongest bonds have developed and continue to develop.

And that’s the way home should be.