Friday, April 30, 2010

Cops make for a bad day.

So, everyone knows that an encounter with the police is a good day killer. It's not that the officers are bad people (at least no worse than other professions). It's just their job to be there when bad things happen. It's their job to be suspicious. It's their job to put pressure on those they are suspicious of. Thus, talking to them in their official capacity is usually unpleasant.

One night, as a college freshman, I hung out with a new set of friends. It was late at night (because it's freshman year!), and we were messing around on the grounds. Someone touched a bike that was unlocked, with the idea of moving it to confuse the owner in the morning. A campus "honor guard" (don't ask, it's stupid that they exist), saw us, and called the cops. Obviously they accused us of wanting to steal the bike. The issue was somewhat quickly resolved (after a frisking, and a separate interrogation for everyone). At the end, one particularly large cop accused me of stealing computers from homes in the neighborhood. At first I thought he was joking. But after I laughed, and he didn't laugh, I realized he was serious. I stammered. I had no idea what he was talking about. But because they had access to my school records(which seems hinky) they knew I had a computer related major, and thought they'd take a stab in the dark. In the end they accepted that I had nothing to do with it. That was a bad night(but a good story).

So, even if you do nothing wrong, but just look suspicious, or spend a night with a group that looks suspicious, Cops make for a bad night. For this reason, law officers are restricted from prying into our lives. They must have probable cause in order to detain, search or arrest us. They need "reasonable suspicion" in order to question us. Otherwise we are free to leave at any time. This is one reason the new law in Arizona is troubling. What is reasonable for suspecting a person is an illegal alien? How should a police officer decide that they should ask for proof of legal residency? There are certain street corners where day laborers will wait for work. Illegal immigrants tend to be day workers. Thus hanging out on certain street corners makes it more likely to be an illegal immigrant, right? But that also means, for legal immigrants and citizens, being a day laborer is probable cause for a policeman to stop and ask for papers. Remember my story above, about how it sucks to deal with police? Because they're trained, even if you are legal, to see if you are hiding things. Even after they've dealt with the initial issue, their job requires them to make sure they haven't missed anything. There is no way to cut the issue that makes it possible for policemen to look at a person and say, I have a reasonable suspicion that that person is an illegal immigrant.

A lot of people are saying the law is racist. The law itself isn't racist, because law(at least on its face) is colorblind. Some say the police will apply it in a racist fashion. I'm going to give all the officers the benefit of the doubt, and say, they will make all possible effort to avoid using racial profiling in their execution of the law. The problem is that what is then the basis of suspicion on which they will apply this law? No cursory examination can possibly provide the necessary level of suspicion. Illegal immigrants don't act different. Only an investigation into the life of the person, their residence, work, and family, can provide it. Thus the only basis on which the law can be applied by an officer on his beat is by racial profiling.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

How did it get so late so soon? Its night before its afternoon.

Jim has always bee a really good dad. One of the most important Dad qualities is how they perform as either a) a climbing post, or b) a dancing bear, or c) both simultaneously.
I kind of loved the afternoon light in my parent's living room. It's relaxing. When I came home, Melinda was surprised I hadn't taken any naps. It's usually so easy to just find a patch of sunshine and close your eyes. Like a dog. Or a rabbit.

There was temporary interest in a game of cranium. We played by the wrong rules. And the nephews didn't know who Walter Cronkite was. And I didn't remember any of Fonzi's catchphrases. But Carl did a great impression of the Fonz. And Ryan drew dreadlocks.
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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Easter Dinner

Melinda worked really hard to make a complete Easter Dinner. We got out a tablecloth, homemade rolls, salad, cheesy potatoes, lamb, sparkling apple juice, and pie.
So just as we were starting to eat, I reached for the sparkling cider, and it started to fall. In the process of trying to catch it, I knocked over the salad dressing, which foiled my attempt to right the cider. We didn't take any pictures after that.
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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Default Faces

Everyone has kind of a default face. They're sitting, taking it all in, with a mildly blank thought in their heads. Baseball is great for observing this, because there's all that downtime between the action. Dad watches baseball games with dignity.

Ryan is too happy to put on his default face, though, it's pretty close to this one. Sorry Brandon, I know you thought you were in this picture. I kind of thought so too. By the way, look at those eyes. Those eyes will get him lots of dates someday.

For some reason, I just couldn't get a good picture of Carl on this day. I think that people make the funniest faces when they're talking about intelligent things. The brain just isn't so good at taking care of the face when it's making thoughts.
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Monday, April 19, 2010

opening day and flags

My brother gave my dad a perfect Christmas Present. He went with all his sons went to the Rockies Opening Day game. Dad loves baseball, and we all enjoy a good day at the park. Coors field is a great stadium. It captures a kind of old school steel girder and brick style that makes it feel... like a real ballpark. It feels right to get a hot dog, and settle down in the cool spring air for 3 hours of baseball.

As they were singing the national anthem, I had a thought about our flag. Putting aside all symbolism, at least as much as possible, I think our flag is a great piece of pop art. Just compared to other flags, not as symbols of their nations, but as a thing to hang on a pole, our flag is in at least the top third of flags in the world. Just sayin'.

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Sunday, April 18, 2010

Pictures you take while driving

We've had a few spring storms recently, and what always interests me is after the storm, the clarity of the air. The mountains on the other side of the valley seem so close, the detail so fine. The picture is mostly boring, but you can kind of see it.

I rarely get out of the house in the morning. Mostly I sit on my couch, and try to avoid the sun peeping through the gaps in the blinds of our east facing windows. So on the morning that I was flying to Denver, I saw these clouds, and took these shots blind. I kind of like it, but I feel like there should be more oomph?
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