Simi Valley Sophist

The Simi Valley Sophist ruminates on all manner of topics from the micro to the macro. SVS travels whatever path strikes his fancy. Encyclopedia Britannica: Sophist "Any of certain Greek lecturers, writers, and teachers in the 5th and 4th centuries BC, most of whom travelled about the Greek-speaking world giving instruction in a wide range of subjects in return ..."

Location: California, United States

Retired: 30years law enforcement-last 20 years Criminal Intelligence Detective.

Monday, April 30, 2007

An Old Sheepdog’s Day, Not Too Long Ago

In only twenty-four hours…

Friday, eleven PM. I’ve been working since ten AM, and my regular shift ended at eight thirty PM. But another unit needs our help with surveillance, our specialty. This is the fourth night in a row.

If you were to observe the town from on high, you’d see that house lights have been going off for some time as residents retire for the night. Another day is over. The trials, tribulations or joys of the day are fading fast. I slid into my assigned spot and affix my gaze upon the house in question. Unlike the neighbors, this household is not going dormant. And, it won’t since the inhabitants and visitors are fueled by methamphetamine and pills. This is a dope party-house. A lady staying at the residence appears to be heavy with child. Two weeks ago she was arrested by another agency for being under the influence of a central nervous system stimulant. They apparently did not ascertain that she is pregnant. Maybe she’s just fat. Nevertheless, it would not surprise me if she is pregnant. Recently, the girlfriend of a major dope dealer gave birth, and the hospital personnel discovered that the newborn baby girl had illicit drugs in her system. Nice start to life, don’t you think?

Last night at this time, a known dope dealer’s car was already parked across from where I sit. His last arrest resulted in the confiscation of over 100,000 illegally obtained popular street prescription pills. He’s back on the street waiting for the creaky and ponderous wheels of justice to take its course. If tonight is anything like the three previous nights, people will drop by to party until the sun starts to lighten the sky, or they will leave earlier to thieve throughout the city. The latter are our targets.

The hours drag by. Boredom and exhaustion are occasionally punctuated by jolts of adrenaline. This time it is one-fifty-two AM. Suddenly from my left front, one maniacal looking individual is hurtling directly toward me chased by another. Decision time! Sitting in my car, I am at an extreme disadvantage. The car that had offered me concealment and protection from the elements is suddenly turned into a prison, or potentially worse a coffin. Do they see me? Am I their target? If I leap from the car, do I blow the surveillance? And, can I even get out of my car in time? Draw-down and confront or hunker-down? I choose hunker-down as the chased one crashes into my car and continues on. Then as quickly as they arrived, they are gone into the night. The whole scenario took three seconds max. The duo return a few minutes later carrying beer from the nearby all night stop-and-rob, apparently oblivious of my presence.

At four-eleven AM, a bicyclist, wearing a backpack, stops adjacent to me and stares intently in my direction. Does he see me in my car? If so, what are his intentions? Will he make me for a cop and snitch me off to the people in the target house? Or, maybe he does not see me. Is my car a target for a burglary? He rides off and takes way too long to reach my partner down the street. The routine is repeated, and he is undoubtedly casing to commit automobile burglaries. He vanishes into a residential neighborhood as mobile officers in cars take-up observation posts and cops on bicycles glide silently through the streets.

The police radio begins to crackle as officers locate and begin trailing two bicyclists making their way through residential neighborhoods and commercial areas. My partner and I leave our fixed surveillance posts and join the chase. As the net closes, suddenly there is a third bicyclist fleeing to the north of a commercial building. Or was it to the south? Radio transmissions are broken and covered as more than one officer speaks at the same time. Tired minds struggle to piece together the disparate bits of information. I’m having trouble discerning between cops on bikes and crooks on bikes. They are dressed the same. Precious seconds are lost with misidentification, while my partner is pursuing the fleeing bicyclist north of the building. I find my partner stopped with his car lights illuminating someone he is holding at gunpoint. The individual is standing among a bunch of bicycles sandwiched between a junker motor-home and tall vegetation abutting the end of the property. As I approach, my partner yells that there is someone in the bushes to his left. Damn, it’s up to me to address the potential threat. The vegetation is dense, and I know that my flashlight is potentially making me a target. I find two transients. They are detained.

Five people are in the vicinity of the motor-home, two with warrants for their arrest. One just got out of the hospital with cirrhosis of the liver, and he still has the port used to drain his abdomen. Another is 33 years old and can pass for sixty, with his balding head and goatee. He says that he suffers from colitis. One is a female about 50 years of age. She owns the junker motor-home, which appears to be in better condition than she.

These are a particular segment of the down-and-outs we call the homeless. They are alcohol and drug abusers. They are thieves. They are polluters turning streets, parking lots and bushes into outhouses. Their trash and discarded items are strewn all over their encampments. They refuse to use community homeless facilities because dope and alcohol use at the locations is prohibited. They live a parasitic life offering nothing positive to the community as they cycle in-and-out of jail and hospitals on the public dime. Just to be clear on the matter, your dime is in the form of higher taxes, higher insurance rates, and other direct costs. That says nothing about the anguish when you discover your car window smashed or your home burglarized.

My surveillance work ended at five-thirty AM. It’s Saturday, my day off, sort of. I get four hours of sleep, and then I’m up again since I have to go to the shooting range for the monthly qualification. It’s a struggle this time, even though I shot extremely well in the last few weeks with the interactive laser courses involving shoot-don’t shoot scenarios. I finally settle down and pass the course. It was reassuring to watch the center of the target disappear as the .45 caliber rounds found their mark.

At eight PM, the curtain rises at a community theatrical production. My wife and I are fond of live theater, and we attend often. This time it is a marvelous musical about the life and music of Patsy Cline. I can’t help but contrast at that which the performers bring to the community in the form of beauty and joy, as opposed to the dregs of life who were the center of my previous evening.

Eleven PM, we’re home from the theater. I was a little out of character tonight. I consciously did not carry my weapon with me to the theater. There was a need to discard my role as a sheepdog, if only for a few hours. But, I realized walking from my car to the theater that leaving the weapon at home did not relieve me of my sheepdog responsibilities. I was just un-armed. Nevertheless, it felt good to sit in the theater as if I was just like everyone else there to enjoy the evening, unburdened by the responsibility of carrying my weapon. I’ve been at this cops and bad guy game since 1972, and it strikes me as if it has just been so much pissin’ in the wind. Someone has to do it, but I’m getting tired.

Tomorrow is my birthday. My family: wife; daughters; son-in-laws; and grandchildren; will gather for the celebration. That’s reason enough for me to keep sticking my law enforcement finger in society’s leaky dike, against those who intend to abuse the people that I love.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Purveyors of Passivity Promote Death

The Virginia Tech shooting highlights two different factors in American life that facilitated Seung-Hui Cho’s mission of slaughter: society is divided into those who take action and those who don’t; and the “non-violence” crowd doesn’t recognize the appropriateness of selected violence. The end result is that a large segment of the population has no ability to come to its own defense. They resemble panicked, bleating sheep running around or cowering as they are slaughtered.

The reason that there are police officers and soldiers is because society realizes that there are evil people and countries that need to be corralled, and most of the general public has neither the stomach nor wherewithal to do deal with the problem individually.

These people who watch over the flock are called sheepdogs.

But, what happens when an individual in society is confronted with a violent situation and there is no sheepdog available? It is really quite a simple answer: live or die fighting; or die cowering. Admittedly, sometimes you can cower and survive. Here’s an example, as recounted by Canadian Mark Styne:

Every December 6th, my own unmanned Dominion lowers its flags to half-mast and tries to saddle Canadian manhood in general with the blame for the “Montreal massacre,” the 14 female students of the Ecole Polytechnique murdered by Marc Lepine (born Gamil Gharbi, the son of an Algerian Muslim wife-beater, though you’d never know that from the press coverage). As I wrote up north a few years ago:
Yet the defining image of contemporary Canadian maleness is not M Lepine/Gharbi but the professors and the men in that classroom, who, ordered to leave by the lone gunman, meekly did so, and abandoned their female classmates to their fate — an act of abdication that would have been unthinkable in almost any other culture throughout human history. The “men” stood outside in the corridor and, even as they heard the first shots, they did nothing. And, when it was over and Gharbi walked out of the room and past them, they still did nothing. Whatever its other defects, Canadian manhood does not suffer from an excess of testosterone.

Mark Styne hopes for a better America. There are examples, such as the passengers of United Airlines Flight 93, who took down the 9/11 hijackers before they could accomplish their task. Or, a second example is the airline passengers who subdued Richard Reid as he tried to light the explosives in his shoe. And, there are many stories of average citizens who accomplished phenomenal feats on the mean streets because there was something in their nature that propelled them to action when need be. I call those people situational sheepdogs.

Why is it that a group of healthy, able bodied body people take no proactive action as a single person methodically kills them? Of course, it is a given that aggressive action by resistors is likely to result in death or injury to some, but the odds are that a group of individuals can often overcome an aggressor at close quarters.

When faced with the mortal danger from a potential killer, it is understandable why a person might not react in an immediate aggressive manner. However, when the first shot is fired, there is nothing to be lost except your life to inaction. That is the lesson of Virginia Tech, Ecole Polytechnique and Columbine. An account of the killing in Virginia Tech’s Norris Hall showed that some students and teachers did take some defensive actions, but no one went on the offensive. No one started to hunt nor set-up an ambush of Cho.

The reason for the lack of proactive action is that there is no culture of survival built into the psyche of these people. Here’s how that happens.

In 1999, Littleton, Colorado, had the Columbine High School shooting incident where two armed punks methodically executed cowering students. You would think that the Littleton community would have learned a lesson about the necessity to indoctrinate its children with a will to resist and fight. Apparently that is not the case.

Trumpeting a song non-violence, some residents of Littleton, Colorado, are seeking to block the display of the statue of deceased Navy Seal Danny Dietz. Dietz, a Littleton resident, died in a personally heroic action in Afghanistan. To memorialize Danny, a statue has been constructed depicting him holding his rifle.

Opponents of the statue have said, in light of the 1999 Columbine High School tragedy, kids shouldn't be walking past something that depicts violence.

As I recall, a number of Littleton area police officers risked their lives in an attempt to save students by engaging the Columbine punks in a gun fight. I have not heard of anyone arguing that the police should have refrained from using violence.

Also objecting was Emily Cassidy Fuchs, who didn't want the statue at Berry Park because of its proximity to three schools.

"I don't think young children should be exposed to that in that way - unsupervised by their parents or any adults," said Emily Cassidy, one of the mothers.

Here’s the message sent out by the opponents of the statue:

It has come to our attention that the southeast corner of Lowell and Berry (which is open-space land owned by the Left Bank Condominiums) is the proposed location for a memorial statue honoring a young Navy Seal. While our hearts go out to the family of this brave young man, we have serious concerns regarding the graphic and violent detail the statue portrays. As a community, we cannot allow the many young children in this area to be exposed to a larger than life-size grenade launching machine gun.
In light of our community's experience with the Columbine tragedy, and the clear message of non-violence that we teach in Littleton schools, what is our city thinking?

For the Littleton detractors, a statue of a person merely holding a weapon is an unacceptable image of violence. Were the armed police officers rushing to the aid of the Columbine students unacceptable images of violence?

While this is going on, there is a school district in Texas that is training their students to take action.

Youngsters in a suburban Fort Worth school district are being taught not to sit there like good boys and girls with their hands folded if a gunman invades the classroom, but to rush him and hit him with everything they got — books, pencils, legs and arms.

“Getting under desks and praying for rescue from professionals is not a recipe for success,”…

But, even in Texas there are the detractors,

That kind of fight-back advice is all but unheard of among schools, and some fear it will get children killed.

Get children killed? As I stated in my blog, Are Sheepdogs Born Or Raised?:

…no kidding Buckwheat! That is exactly the mentality of sheep, otherwise known as a majority of educators and others. Somebody is going to get killed. The question is who and how many?
Those of society who counsel passivity, while undoubtedly meaning well, are unworthy of the sacrifices made on their behalf by their betters, the professional and amateur sheepdogs. The non-violence at any cost agenda is responsible for furthering a self-destructive philosophy. And, the non-violence message will be responsible for more deaths as it saps the very life blood out of the best society that the world has to offer. Non-violent advocates can not recognize the evil staring them in the face, and they don’t have the personal fortitude to do anything about it if they did. Jesus was wrong; the meek shall not inherit the earth. They never have and they never will, unless God smites the evil doers himself. And, that would be violent; wouldn’t it?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Urban Outfitters And Their Penis Pokey

Subtitled: Penis Pokey, Moral Morass-Exhibit Five

Last December I wrote in A Lump of Coal for Urban Outfitters, Inc that I instituted a personal boycott of the Urban Outfitters store in my home town. The reason for the boycott was my personal objection to their political message. My Christmas budget was spent in competitors’ stores.

Recently, I was again in search of a gift for another occasion. Curiosity drew me into the local Urban Outfitters store, and I went immediately to the book table. Surprisingly, the previous offending items were not there, but Al Gore’s ill advised missive on global warming was still prominently displayed. Perhaps appropriately, the Gore book was nestled among various books with sexual themes. There were books of sex coupons and Cosmopolitan’s Kama Sutra, complete with drawings of 77 different coital positions guaranteed to cause a visit to your local chiropractor.

OK, so there was a little bit of an adult theme in a female clothing store that caters to younger adults. I suppose that is not so bad since the customers have to open the aforementioned books to view their contents. But, that’s not the half of it.

It seems that an author, by the name of Christopher Behrens, has written a book, the Penis Pokey, which extols the pleasure of sticking a penis through a hole in the book. Wouldn’t you know it, but Urban Outfitters was selling the Penis Pokey. Go to the Penis Pokey link at Urban Outfitters or Amazon Books for a view of the book cover. The round circle in the middle of the jockey shorts is actually the hole, which acts as the receptacle for “willy.” Another web site describes the book:

Penis Pokey is a fun book which has holes cut through the centre of it for ones willy to poke through. Once inserted into the hole, the willy interacts with the illustration on the page to create a very funny scene indeed. From monkeys to underpants, the pages unveil cute opportunities to create various stories with your Johnston as the main star. The only thing missing was a page with a politicians head on it with a hole through the forehead, although we don't necessarily need a demonstration.
Thank you Urban Outfitters for upholding decent community standards. Not! I am real anxious for my young grandchildren to be exposed to your version of public sexual decency. Not!

According to the Urban Outfitters web site, the Penis Pokey book is no longer available on-line. By the way, the previously cited anti-Pres. Bush items were still displayed in my local store, on a separate table in the back of the store.

Here’s my assessment of the sensibilities of Urban Outfitters, Inc. They are leftist and moral slime. Anything to make a dollar, I suppose. The boycott continues.

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A Lump of Coal for Urban Outfitters, Inc

Giant Sequoia Down

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Let’s Finish It Here

Last month I posted a letter from an LTC on active duty in Iraq. The letter is contained in this blog: Let Us Finish Our Defense of You. Here is the LTC’s next installment on what is happening in Iraq. I have edited his missive to conceal his identity without changing his message. Here’s what it is like in Iraq, as seen by the eyes and described by the words of an LTC with boots on the ground.

I have not written an update for a while, so I thought it is time to let you all know how I am doing in Iraq. I have not written because, having been here for three and a half months, life has become a dull routine. Very little of interest occurs on a daily basis. We are definitely in that phase of deployment that becomes a grinding bore. I have settled into a paper work routine of reading email, observing briefings and reviewing paperwork. The one real chore that I have is reading all the condolence letters. Thankfully there is not a huge amount, but each one represents a tragedy. However, don't let my recounting of the tragedy of the letters mean anything but that. We thankfully have the lowest casualty rate of any war fought. So far, it is minuscule.Besides the work routine, I am still work out daily and participate in the cigar club at 1430 hours. Twice a week all of us in my office go into the conference room and watch movies. The latest series is the Lord of the Rings; A movie that is essentially a war. But, it is inspiring in that you just have to keep pushing forward until you obtain victory. The other recreation I have is to do video telephoning with my wife. We have managed to web video for over an hour daily during the last month. It brings home closer while out here. If you had told me 30 years ago that we could do video and phoning over a computer from a war zone, I would have thought you crazy. But, we are doing it all the time.
The war is going better. Don't let the news media convince you that we are losing. The new strategy will take a while to be successful. There are some favorable signs now, but they are still superficial. The enemy is definitely pushing back and trying to make it look as if we cannot control the city or this country. However, they are increasingly attacking soft targets. Their attacks on the Coalition are down, and they cannot stop the increased U.S. force in Baghdad and the expansion in the Iraqi military. The sectarian murder rate is already down, and while attacks are up, the effectiveness is down. The terrorists are getting some spectacular attacks, but again they are hitting the softest of targets and as of now are trying to incorporate chlorine gas canisters into their explosions. We are increasingly finding the IEDs and the weapons caches. Remember that we are just beginning the process, and we still have only 50% of the troop increase. This is not an operation that gives instant gratification or quick results. It will take time. We must have that time for success.

I hear that this war has lasted longer then WWII. But, consider the after effects of WWII, and the operations that occurred after the fighting in WWII. We were engaged in Europe and Japan for another 10 years as occupiers and re-builders and then for another 30 years as defenders of the new democracies. The cost was untold billions of dollars and thousands of lives. Yet we persevered and with a lot less to lose than if we had just left Japan and Germany to their fates, without our continued sacrifice. And just what would we lose now if we just pulled out of Iraq? I could write a book about that, but the short explanation is we lose our prestige in the Middle East and probably in other parts of the world. We lose our entire position in the Middle East. Iran gains the upper hand and becomes the regional power that they cannot be if we are successful in Iraq. But most of all, we open ourselves to further terrorist attacks in the US as the terrorists become emboldened by their success in Iraq. Do not be deceived. If we depart leaving Iraq in turmoil or with terrorism intact, they will spin that into a great victory over the "Great Satan," and that will swell their ranks and war chests. Next, they will come after us in the U.S. Any plan that puts a time limit on our withdrawal, as opposed to placing an end-state condition, is a defeat. We will go home in defeat, and we will then be fighting the war at home. We cannot afford to lose here. This is where the war is and where we are fighting. Let’s finish it here.

I’m thinking that if this is what a soldier is saying, and it is he who is putting his life on the line, maybe we ought to pay attention. Maybe we just ought not listen to the naysayer politicians and liberal media.

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Let Us Finish Our Defense of You

A Viking Takes On Route 66

Adventure is where you find it. Or, maybe it’s where you make it. It is not important to be the first to do something, but it is important to dream and strive to accomplish the dream. Larry is just that type of guy. I don’t think I’m giving away any state secrets when I tell you that he is 72 years of age. And, what is he doing? Well nothing less than riding a bicycle the entire length of Route 66 from Southern California to Cleveland, Ohio. I’d ride my motorcycle on that trip, but a bicycle? That takes cahones. Let it be known that I tried my best to convince Larry that the correct “bike” for this trip is a Harley Davidson motorcycle, but he would not hear of it.

From Larry’s website, Viking on Wheels:

In the spring of 2007, fifty years after my brother and I left Ohio for California in this brand-new 1957 Chevrolet, I will ride the same route only in reverse direction. It won't be in the Chevy with my brother, but solo on a bicycle. Oh how times have changed since then...a good road bike now costs about twice as much as the Chevy did then, and classic car buffs put out tens-of-thousands of dollars today for a '57 Bel-Air Sport Coupe Hardtop Convertible!

My objective is to ride to the Case Alumni Association's All Classes Reunion on June 8, 2007 in commemoration of The Class of 1957. And what better route to take back than the one used that year...Historic Route 66!
Larry left Muscle Beach in Santa Monica on an overcast Sunday morning, April 1st, after the traditional dipping of the rear wheel in the Pacific Ocean. He is now in Needles, CA. Go to Larry’s website for information on the historic Route 66 and follow Larry’s progress.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Mooning, Moral Morass-Exhibit Four

Taylor Tillung, a high school student in Florida, mooned a teacher who refused to allow him admittance to a school event. According to Tillung’s attorney,

Tyler Tillung, 18, mooned a teacher "suddenly and without thinking about the consequences" in February, according to the lawsuit filed Tuesday. The teacher had declined to let him into a Feb. 21 school lip sync show that was full. He was suspended for six days and reassigned to a new school.

The incident occurred Feb. 21 when Taylor tried to gain access to the annual Lip Sync show at Palm Harbor University High. When veteran teacher Carla Webster told him the event was sold out and the auditorium was too full, Taylor pressed her to let him in.

After she declined, he mooned the teacher. The lawsuit concedes that he made the act worse "by spreading his buttocks for an instant."

Poor Ms. Webster was “traumatized,” or so says the school principal.

Palm Harbor principal Herman "Doc" Allen described the mooning as "disgusting" and the teacher as "traumatized."
Isn’t that something? A teacher is traumatized by the sight of bare buttocks. Or, was it possibly a glimpse of an anus that caused the trauma?

Come on folks! Traumatized by Tillung’s bare butt? Isn’t that a little too much to accept about an adult, who is expected to be mature enough to be entrusted with the education of youth? I would not be surprised if the trauma allegation is nothing more than a justification for an over-reaching disciplinary action.

The really sad part of the story is the realization that there are plenty of uptight, thin-skinned people to be offended by the likes of Tillung’s impetuosity.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Free Speech Can Not Be Claimed to Protect Criminals

In 2005, the G-8 Summit meeting in San Francisco was the excuse for dissidents to protest and inflict mayhem, literally. During the protest, rioters used the opportunity to fracture the skull of a SFPD officer and to set a SFPD patrol car on fire. I wrote two blogs concerning the criminal incidents, here and here.

A freelance videographer recorded the tumultuous incidents and prosecutors apparently believe that the video contains evidence of the criminal acts.

Joshua Wolf, 24, left the federal prison in Dublin, where he spent more than seven months after refusing to obey a subpoena to turn over his video from a chaotic 2005 San Francisco street protest during the G-8 summit.
In a deal with prosecutors, Wolf agreed to turn over the uncut video, which he also posted on his Web site earlier Tuesday. Prosecutors said they were not inclined to seek his grand jury testimony, although they left open the possibility that he could be subpoenaed again later in the investigation.
There is legitimate concern about First Amendment freedoms whenever the government demands disclosure. In this case, the government is seeking evidence in order to prosecute alleged criminals. Joshua Wolf resisted the government’s subpoena

Whatever the facts are relative to Wolf, the National Writer’s Union revealed its agenda:

The National Writer's Union said in a statement that Wolf should never have been jailed.

"The abuses visited on Josh and other journalists are part of an effort by governments at all levels to control the volume, flow and content of the information that reaches the public," the union said.
The last statement implies that the government, in this case, is seeking to withhold information from the public. That’s patently absurd because it is Wolf who sought to withhold the information. Wolf is withholding evidence of one sort or another. It makes me wonder which rights concern Wolf: his to publish or not publish; the right of the injured officer to redress; the right of the public for justice; or the rights of the accused to receive a fair trial?