Random Thoughts

Not much going on in the racing front, so just to stay in practice a few other things I’ve heard.

A policeman in Georgia shot a naked black man while he was acting deranged. According to the story,

Police were responding to a call about a suspicious person. Bystander videos and photos show Hill was naked, climbing on the sides of his apartment building prior to the shooting. Police have said that Hill then charged at Olsen, who shot and killed him. “The caller reported a male acting deranged, knocking on doors, crawling around on the ground naked,” DeKalb County Police Chief Cedric Alexander said at the time of the shooting. “When the male saw the officer he charged, running at the officer. The officer told him to stop while stepping back at which point he drew his weapon and fired two shots.”

I don’t know about you, but the first things going through my head when I see a naked guy trying to climb an apartment building are (1)PCP or (2)mentally ill. Now that isn’t to say he couldn’t be dangerous, but I’ve watched Locked Up and there is apparently a way to handle someone who flips out without shooting them, as long as you have numbers, the right equipment, and  are trained. That is especially the case when that person doesn’t have a weapon.

What could have been going through the officer’s mind to think this guy was going to stop when he shouted at him? I think if you showed a video, stopped it at the point the naked guy started charging and the police officer yelled stop, and then took a poll of 100 people, I’m not sure there is one who would have taken 1000-1 the guy was going to stop. The guy was apparently having some sort of psychotic episode, and the idea that he would suddenly come to his senses when a police officer yelled stop is at best ludicrous. So the question is, was there any other option available other than shooting the guy? Was the man an immediate danger to other people? Could the officer have waited for numbers before confronting the man? Did he have the time or the ability to use something less than deadly force, the Taser or a night stick for example?  I honestly don’t know the answers, but based on some other recent cases, the presence of a threat that may inflict bodily harm and the fact that training often makes the response autonomic, usually seems to be enough to decide in the police officer’s favor.

I have mixed feelings about the whole thing. I mean, the officer should not be subject to physical assault but this sort of thing has to happen often enough that the police should at least have a Plan B for how to get out of the situation with minimal damage to the officer and the naked guy. I’m not taking sides. If anything I’m blaming inadequate training for dealing with the mentally ill, an issue that has been the subject of discussion in many communities. I’m reminded of what Clint Eastwood said as William Muny in Unforgiven:

It’s a hell of a thing, killing a man. You take away everything he’s got and everything he’s ever gonna have.

The second thing is the weather in California. The weather gods seem to have it in for the most populous state. Drought followed by torrential rain. I was listening to the radio and someone was talking about the problems caused by the heavy downpours. One of the problems is the homeless, who apparently prefer to live near the water, which in SoCal is concrete riverbeds or the beach. Riverbeds are a bad idea when water is rushing, mainly because if you happen to be in the channel you might drown. So California is looking at ways of dealing with the homeless during the wet weather.

There was a point in the story where I thought the person being interviewed said that homeless people have rights. This is the sort of thing that makes Fox News heads explode. I think what she meant was, hey, if you want to be homeless, go ahead. We can’t stop you. In other words, everyone has a right to be homeless. Not, that goddamn Obama just changed the Constitution to give special rights to the homeless. I just thought it would have been a great debate topic for Sean Hannity versus Rachel Maddow. The rights of the homeless.

The third thing was a doozy. A Florida Atlantic University professor named James Tracy who apparently believes the Sandy Hook shooting was staged and who publicly quarreled with the parents of one of the victims, was fired for not filling out some forms on outside employment required by the University. The strangest thing isn’t that he thought the Sandy Hook massacre was staged, but that he wanted us to believe an inept and cynical government could actually pull it off. Pretty ironic, eh? Apparently, the government hired actors to play victims, replete with fake blood and other special effects. The eventual outcome was supposed to be gun control legislation, which as we all know didn’t happen. So, the government has had to regularly stage fake shootings, like San Bernardino, in an effort to get that gun control bill passed.

This proves my theory that some people have far more education than brains.

I’m not sure what the percentage is of people who believe this, but the fact that anyone thinks it’s true is…well frankly the naked guy climbing the apartment walls may have been of sounder mind.

What may have been more outrageous was Tracy going after the parents of one of the boys killed in the Sandy Hook massacre. He used a photo of Noah Pozner on his blog, which got the attention of Noah’s parents. The Sun-Sentinel described it this way.

When the parents took steps to prevent their son’s photo from being used on conspiracy websites, Tracy sent them a certified letter demanding proof they were Noah’s parents and that their son ever lived, the family wrote in a Sun Sentinel opinion piece. Tracy fired back online, calling the Pozners “alleged parents” and accusing them of cashing in on Sandy Hook and fabricating their son’s death certificate. “If Noah actually died, there would have been no reason to fake it.” Tracy wrote.

The incredible cruelty of that act is without peer. No parent should live to see the death of their children, much less in a senseless way, and make no mistake about it. Noah Pozner’s death was real as is the pain of his parents and every parent who lost a child at Sandy Hook. I can feel no kindness toward James Tracy. The fact that this is America allows him to get away with believing whatever insane thing he wants with impunity, and he can even tell the rest of us what he thinks as long as it isn’t seditionist or the equivalent of yelling “fire” in a crowded movie theater. But there is always a cost to extreme speech. It is villification by those who have seen the true horror of the violence that occurred in Boston, and Newtown and San Bernardino and who will not give credence to any who are outwardly cruel and purposely ignorant. If James Tracy had the sense of a two year old he would have kept his rantings to the small group of wing nuts who find life in reality not satisfying enough.

The truth is not optional. His opinion counts for absolutely zero in this country. He is as irrelevant as someone who would argue that the earth is flat. He is, to state the obvious, as wrong as wrong can be.

Tracy is especially sad because he was educated enough to know better. His delusion is inexcusable. This is what we all should hope. That he fades into the obscurity he deserves and that we honor and remember the lives of all who died at the hands of madmen.