Category Archives: Police

Terrorists on airliners prior to 9/11 – the cost of thinking we’re worth killing

Hi readers. Thanks for coming by for a read.

Back before 9/11 the airline flights over the US almost always had a few terrorists aboard.  You’d see them hanging around DFW or Atlanta, or LAX wandering around the boarding areas looking hopefully at the other passengers.  A couple of typical Turks, or Iranians, or Arabs, or Israelis, or Northern Irishmen.  Just wandering around watching people in hopes some of their fellow passengers would be worth killing, or even getting themselves into trouble, wasting a bomb on.

Aside from an occasional hijacking they mostly never did anything.  Fact was, the people sharing their flights were just a bunch of bureaucrats, bleating women, corporate zombies, and people going somewhere to meet people of the opposite sex they’d become acquainted with on the Internet.  Just typical Americans.  Worthless as hell, and certainly not worth the life of a highly trained terrorist.

But when 9/11 came along it made all those non-terrorist passengers feel a lot better about themselves.  Nothing changed with the terrorists, but the typical Americans were generally elevated by the whole thing.  Suddenly it seemed to them that someone thought they were worth killing.

Turned out it was such an uplifting experience for them the government decided they liked having all the spinoff benefits …. trotted out a lot of airport security, Homeland Security, 87 new layers of cops and surveillance, and legions of new guys wearing berets carrying machine guns to go off places terrorists came from and blow away anyone who might think Americans were worth killing.

Worked out fairly well, all in all.  Win-win-win.  Only downside is that so many of the Americans who use to be not be worth killing decided it might be better not to get on airplanes if they could avoid it.  Those people over there where terrorists come from might begin to be pissed off, eventually.  Might start killing some people who aren’t over in those countries they come from and aren’t just wearing berets, battle dress uniforms, and dropping grenades into the market places full of women and kids.

Going back to not being worth killing might be nice.  But you can’t get there from here, I reckons.

Old Jules

SWAT teams and militarized police forces – An outlet for frustrating human needs

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by.

I’ve noticed a few scattered concerns on the WEB by people who think the 21st Century militarization of civilian police forces is a bad thing.  Seems to me those complainers aren’t looking at the bigger picture.

Time was when a person with a mean streak, or just a desire  to kill someone didn’t have many options.  He could sneak around and do it and maybe get by with it a while, or he could get drunk and do it, and go to the slammer.  Or he could unhealthily suppress it and go around frustrated and unhappy.

But nowadays there are plenty of outlets for a person with those needs.  Sure, he might spend years becoming a SEAL, a Marine Sniper, or a Green Beret.  But those are really too large and too institutionalized for the local badass who just wants to blow the face off someone without being criticized for doing it.   Municipal, County, or State Police SWAT teams offer a lot easier outlet.  Plus, they’re clubs where all the members have the same goals and can be depended upon to protect one another by keeping their mouths shut if it’s needed. 

For instance, there used to be a cop in Socorro, New Mexico, who was involved in a couple of extremely questionable shootings.  Residents and city officials had all witnessed, or heard about his blusterings, his posturings, his suspected desire to use that firearm as frequently as possible.  After the second shooting incident he was quietly encouraged to find greener pastures elsewhere.

So he applied for, and was accepted to the Albuquerque Police.  Trained for the SWAT team.  Wasn’t long before he got to put a bullet into a suspect and got a lot of praise for doing it.  Short while later they were raiding a drug house and an 80 year old neighbor saw what was going on, thought it was a gang.  Ran out of his house with a flashlight, yelling, and the Ex-Socorro cop stopped him in his tracks.  Turned out the raid was conducted at the wrong address, but the 80 year old was found ex post facto to should have minded his own business.

A year or two later someone was holding a baby over a freeway overpass threatening to drop it into the traffic below.  Ex-Socorro cop plugged him so’s the baby only dropped on the overpass.  Hero again.

I heard over the years he got to kill a number of other people who got downrange of the Albuquerque SWAT team, as well.  Managed to make what would otherwise probably just been a lifetime spent in prison, or sneaking around murdering people, into a healthy, productive life.

People who criticize militarized police forces aren’t considering the needs of the SWAT teamers and the healthy way they’ve dovetailed themselves into the greater good of society.

Old Jules

Tooth Fairies, Trouble-Makers and Japanese Nukes

2013 Tooth Fairy with Radioactivity Sniffer Dog

2013 Tooth Fairy with Radioactivity Sniffer Dog

Hi readers.

If you’re like me you probably wonder why the Tooth Fairy changed so much since we were kids.  It was the Baby Tooth Survey did it.  Here’s what happened:

When the Commandant of the National Tooth Fairy Regiment died of cancer in 1963 a lot of traitorous whining wimps in Missouri started crying about the fact the US Government was dropping hydrogen bombs on itself to pre-emptively protect itself in case someone else should drop nukes on Nevada and New Mexico. 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baby_Tooth_Survey

Baby Tooth Survey

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The Baby Tooth Survey was initiated by the Greater St. Louis Citizens’ Committee for Nuclear Information in conjunction with Saint Louis University and the Washington University School of Dental Medicine as a means of determining the effects of nuclear fallout in the human anatomy by examining the levels of radioactive material absorbed into the deciduous teeth of children.

Founded by the husband and wife team of physicians Eric and Louise Reiss, along with other scientists such as Barry Commoner, the research focused on detecting the presence of strontium-90, a cancer-causing radioactive isotope created by the more than 400 atomic tests conducted above ground that is absorbed from water and dairy products into the bones and teeth given its chemical similarity to calcium. The team sent collection forms to schools in the St. Louis, Missouri area, hoping to gather 50,000 teeth each year.[1] Ultimately, the project collected over 300,000 teeth from children of various ages before the project was ended in 1970.

Preliminary results published by the team in the November 24, 1961, edition of the journal Science showed that levels of strontium 90 in children had risen steadily in children born in the 1950s, with those born later showing the most increased levels.[2] The results of a more comprehensive study of the elements found in the teeth collected showed that children born after 1963 had levels of strontium 90 in their baby teeth that was 50 times higher than that found in children born before the advent of large-scale atomic testing. The findings helped convince U.S. President John F. Kennedy to sign the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty with the United Kingdom and Soviet Union, which ended the above-ground nuclear weapons testing that placed the greatest amounts of nuclear fallout into the atmosphere.[3]

Follow-up analysis
A set of 85,000 teeth that had been uncovered in storage in 2001 by Washington University were given to the Radiation and Public Health Project. By tracking 3,000 individuals who had participated in the tooth-collection project, the RHPR published results in a 2010 issue of the International Journal of Health Service that showed that the 12 children who later died of cancer before the age of 50 had levels of strontium 90 in their stored baby teeth that was twice the level of those who were still alive at 50.[3][4]

After that things seemed to settle down okay for a while.  Then came Three-Mile Island and Chernobyl.  Tooth Fairies were dying off like flies.  Gums rotting away, skin peeling off them like overcoats.

Fact is, we almost lost the whole kaboodle of Tooth Fairies when the Japanese started dumping all the radioactivity they could scrape together and sending it into the atmosphere headed for Alaska, California, Washington and Oregon.  Pumping water hotter than a two-dollar pistol into the Pacific Ocean.

Tooth Fairy recruitment programs went to zilch.  Finding new Tooth Fairies to replace the ones getting the blind staggers was tougher than the Mother Church trying to find women willing to be nuns.

Luckily, the US Military and the National Academy of Multi-Layered Police Forces, comprising about half the US population, came to the rescue.  Provided pistols to be held to the temples of potential Tooth Fairies who were trying to take French leave from the job.  But to compensate, providing body armor and radioactivity sniffing dogs to help the ones still able bodied enough to slip into a bedroom at night and reach under a pillow for a tooth stay alive longer.

Saved again by the police and the US military and mercenary forces.

Old Jules

The Great Tick Migration – Occupy Texas

Hi readers. I’m reblogging this because the original writing of it was a direct consequence of the events described in the previous post. J

So Far From Heaven

I wrote this when I lived in Socorro, New Mexico, but I’d guess it’s as timely and germane today as it was then.

It’s sad, but they have to migrate: there’s no good water in the Rio Grande anymore.  It’s all sewage passed downstream from Albuquerque and other towns. 
 
This was almost home to them. Their ancestors arrived with the first cattle drives from Texas in the 1880s. But finally they’ve had enough. Lemming-like they’ve decided as one to return home, Lone Star Ticks to the Lone Star State, same as those invading Confederate Texas humans had to finally stagger and stumble home when things took a turn for the worst..
 
This far south they’ve just begun to gather; just started to come out from under the grassleaves, the treebark, stragglers still coming out of the brush. The main migration gathering is further north in the Isleta lands…

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Running from the law: The Great Cockfight Bust, or The Great C*ckfight Bust

El Palenque2

Hi readers.   Thanks for coming by for a read.  Those of you who have any morals and are offended by the alternative name for the male chicken will be soothed to see I’ve name this twice to avoid criticism.

Must have been 1996, 1997, I was living in Socorro, NM, and I got wind there was a major cock [c*ck] fight going to happen Saturday night.  They happened a few times a month in that area, and though official NM law allowed it as a local option at the time, murmurings in the State House rumored it was going to be prohibited soon.  They’d raided a couple of them in counties where the local option had people thinking it was legal.

Anyway, Saturday night I was at loose ends so I headed out to put hero roosters into my body of life experience.  The place was a mile beyond a gate and down a dirt road into the Rio Grande bosque.  The salt cedars opened up to a large cleared area of several acres with a large metal building toward the back.  Room to park 200 vehicles or more.

I got there early to look things over, still some daylight.  Maybe 20-30 cars and pickups in the lot, guys hanging around talking and smoking outside.  Moseyed into the barn, looked over the seating arrangements, looked a lot like an auction barn for livestock.  But with a cage blocked off in the center for the fighters and their handlers.

Nobody was in a hurry to go inside because it was hot in that barn.  I decided it would be hotter when the place filled up, so I staked a standing-up claim against the support for a tall sliding metal door at the back. 

When the place filled it was noisy, it was hot, and things were happening fast.  Bets, chickens, arms waving and yelling, every reason to be enamored of my place at the door.

But toward the shank of the evening a horn honked out in the parking lot and someone yelled, “Raid!  Cops!”  Sirens blaring, suddenly everyone inside stampeding for the doors.  I ran to the corner of the building and saw the parking lot was filled with flashing lightbars, half-dozen, maybe a dozen police cars.  Sheeze.  This is bullshit!  Guys running out toward their cars getting snagged by the cops.

So I ran like hell out into the bosque dodging salt cedars, rattlers, just put as much distance between myself and that barn as I could manage.  When I went knee deep in mud I knew I wasn’t going any further.  The Rio Grande was right in here somewhere close.

I tucked myself in next to a dead tree in a thicket of salt cedar and watched the lights through the trees, listened to the angry yells of men being arrested, watched the lights threading through the cedars chasing people trying to get away too late.  Waited, waited, felt ticks crawling all over me, found myself wondering about the rattlers, waited, more ticks, waited.

Gradually things calmed down, engines started, gradually the sirens stopped.  Things got really quiet.  But no way I was about to be fooled by that crap.  Full dark, I waited, listened.  Ticks by the hundreds crawling around on me.  Waited, caught myself dozing, jerked myself awake and waited some more.

Finally Old Sol began crawling in, me praying him up.  Still quiet except for the sounds of the morning birds and water rustling down the channel.  I carefully, carefully began working my way through the salt cedars toward the parking area.

I squatted and watched peeking out there as light filled the parking area.  There it was.  My old Mitzubishi Montero and a scattering of other vehicles.  Sitting there trying to lure me to jail.  I scratched and watched.

Finally a guy came creeping out of the bosque maybe 50 yards away, creeping toward a pickup the other side of the Montero.   Heeheehee.  Bait.  Now we’ll see where the law’s hiding.  Glad it ain’t me!

He seemed surprised.  Got into his truck, started it, no sign of the fuzz.  Spun around and vanished in a trail of dust back toward the pavement.

Hmmmm.  Hokay.  I stood up straight, Tried to act like I was just a normal guy coming out of those salt cedars.  Wandered over to the Montero and watched a dozen other guys coming out of the trees.  Cranked up the Mitzubishi and tooled home free as a bird.

The paper was full of it, the Socorro Chieftain, the Albuquerque Journal.  Printed the names of all those guys who got busted.

Served them right, too, going out there watching c*ckfights.

If people don’t have ethics and morals enough to stay away from places like that they need to be in jail.

Old Jules

Outlawry and the metaphysics of Quality – Zen, Persig et al

tabby thinking it over 2

Tabby:  So what does all this airplane talk have to do with the metaphysics of  quality?

Me:  Giving ourselves quality in life comes in a lot of forms, but each trail we take leading there relies on our personal determination to define what we believe is quality.  Although it’s remotely possible some larger social or governmental entity will offer the opportunities, it’s no priority with them.  They’re concerned with something they define as ‘the greater good’.  Keeping people on the sidewalks, off the grass.  If a person sees the need to walk on the grass, to lie on it, to find the quality in it, he’s going to have to find a way to get there without going to jail.  You have to find awareness of the grass, and you can’t be aware of it until you’ve experienced it.

Tabby:  But at least they’re keeping the dogs from crapping on the grass..

Me:  That’s right.  And if you’re planning to crap on it you’d destroy the quality you hoped to find there.  But if you allow the fact someone in control is afraid you’ll crap on the grass to keep you off it so’s to make sure you don’t you’ve lost a chunk of life you’ll never recover.  A piece of the quality of living gone because someone else might have violated it if they’d gone there.

Tabby:  People can’t see the damned grass anyway, right?  They walk right past it without seeing anything.

Me:  Mostly they don’t see it because they‘re somewhere else.  They‘re thinking about something they think is in the future, where they‘re having lunch, or something someone said an hour ago.  They’re walking past that grass and have a vague intellectual awareness the grass is there, but that’s only half of where quality lives.  The flash of instant ‘seeing’ it before the mind has time to intellectually define what it’s seeing is where quality hides.  And because they don’t experience the quality of the grass they have no respect for it.  They’re minds assign it no value.  They take a rhetorical crap on the grass without ever knowing they’ve done it.

Tabby:  So that’s why the people posting the signs want to keep them off the grass?  So they won’t take a rhetorical crap on it as they go by?

Me:  No.  The people posting the signs think they’re doing it to protect the grass for the ‘greater good’ of all those people and dogs going by who won’t see it.  Sign posters couldn’t care less about what people experience as they go by.  They think it’s the separation between the people and dogs, and the grass that’s important.

Tabby:  I’m glad they do it, anyway.  I hate eating grass after a dog’s peed or crapped on it. 

Me:  But you can’t taste it until you get past the signs.

Old Jules

The importance of being insignificant

N90172a

Hi readers. Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

President Jimmy Carter was scheduled to visit Fort Hood.  The First Cavalry Division [my old unit in Korea] was to stage massive war games and tank maneuvers and culminate the affair with a chemical substitute for a battlefield tactical nuclear weapon.  Because the President was going to be there, FAA closed down the airspace over Fort Hood for civilian air traffic.

Pissed my old buddy Phil Washburn  

Afterlife of One Hero – Sex, Violence and Crazy Love

  and me off something awful.  We were taxpaying citizens.  Who the hell did they think they were telling people they couldn’t fly around not bothering anyone watching how our tax dollars were being spent?

So when the day arrived we gassed up the old Cessna …. 100+ F on the runway, and began the long climb outside the forbidden airspace.  Burned up a lot of avgas and an hour getting up to 8000-9000 MSL.  Clear day though, and the temperature became comfortable somewhere above 5000′.

We circled at the edge of the airspace boundary watching the specks of gathered tanks and massed troops a few miles to the north waiting for the show to start.  Suddenly, hundreds of roostertails of dust obscured miles of landscape as the tanks charged forward.  Then the sky below us filled with helicopters.  Wow!  Wowowowowow!

I gradually eased us north until we were almost over the action, but still far enough south so’s we weren’t trying to see straight down, kept circling.  Powered back enough to hold the altitude, savor the cool, and watch what a major wartime battle must be like viewed from the air.

Finally, toward the north beyond all the tanks the substitute battlefield nuke sent up a heluva pile of smoke and fire into the sky, rising rising rising until we were looking up at the top.  It kept rising.

Turn off the lights.  The party’s over.  The roostertails behind the tanks had all faded, everyone down there was taking a break, having a drink of orange KoolAid or something, we reckoned.  The helicopters were headed away where ever helicopters go when the shooting stops.

Time for us to get-the-hell-out-of-Dodge before the high sheriff and POLice come gunning for us.

I pointed us back toward the Killeen airport and as we neared the edge of forbidden territory I shut down the engine, pulled up the nose to stop the propeller windmilling.  The old Cessna had a 20:1 glide ratio, so we were a long while circling over the airport just listing to the whisper of the wind over the surfaces of the plane.

I’d intended to push the nose down to re-start the engine when I got on final approach, but I’d never landed dead-stick and figured this was as good a time as any to do it.  Got the numbers and came to a dead stop 50 feet beyond them, restarted the engine and taxied over to the FBO under the admiring stares of everyone who never landed an airplane dead stick on a public air strip. 

Naturally we did a lot of bragging at the FBO, and a lot of people were shaking their heads in various attitudes of disapproval, horror, and awe.

Hell of a fine day to be an outlaw.   I recommend it.

Old Jules

Hey! Looky over there!

Hi Readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read doodah, doodah.

diet water2

Funny how we humans are so prone to find anwers to bloat our egos over answers that don’t feel as good, but have the virtue of being true.  For instance, any king, nobleman, or any peasant in human history could tell you the fundamental purpose of government. 

If you asked, the peasant, the king or nobleman, would stare at you wondering if you were joking, then decide you were just the village idiot and explain, “The fundamental purpose of government is to keep the hired-help from running off with the silverware.”

Sure, goverment’s always had other functions, too.  Settling arguments between noblemen over which peasants belong to what nobleman.  Setting the peasants hacking at one another with sharpened objects if the noblemen can’t agree which is the bossman.  Sending some of the hired hands around to see what crops the peasants have managed to harvest, and taking some of it away from them.  Making some of the peasants into cops to ride herd on the peasants, keeping them doing what the noblemen tell them to.

Yeah, things got complicated when the Americans managed to run off with the silverware despite everything kings and noblemen could do. Suddenly the applecart was overturned and everyone was going to want to be a king or nobleman.   And the process of deciding who was going to order whom around could have gotten bloody if there hadn’t been some smartypantses thinking ahead. 

They had to think of a way to make everyone think they didn’t have any king, any noblemen, any dynasties of power.  The first time it was put to the test was President/King John Adams and President/King John Quincy Adams. 

That’s when they invented the methodology.  “Hey!  Looky over there!”  And nobody noticed there was suddenly a dynastic nobility forming up with new silverware they didn’t want the hired help running off with.

Worked fairly well, all things considered.  They didn’t even have to keep what they were doing a secret.  Time came when Hopalong Cassidy, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry and Hoot Gibson all used it.

Some guy would be pointing a gun at them, and Hopolong, Roy, Gene, or Hoot would point and yell, “Hey!  Looky over there!”  The guy would look and find himself punched on the point of the chin, corrected in his designs on the silverware.

Today it’s a lot easier because there are so many things the government to point to and yell, “Hey!  Looky over there!” and people will look.  People who hate what they see as dumbasses and rednecks will even help doing the pointing.  “Hey, take the guns away from those dumbass rednecks.”

Or, “Hey!  Looky at those people who do things I don’t like with their sex organs!”

Or, “Hey!  Looky at those people getting more free rocks from the government than I do!”  [The government business of, “buy 10 rocks and get two free” doesn’t work equally for everyone.  Some people only buy 5 rocks and get 10.  Others buy 12 rocks and get 50.  Big big big problem of unequal treatment.]

Sure, it’s dizzying trying to think it all through.  But any peasant, king or nobleman could tell you the truth of it.

If we didn’t all happen to be the village idiots.

Old Jules

1965 Time Machine – The Cat-People Vote

Hydrox:  Don’t even think about this Edgewood, New Dawn crap. 

Me:  What?  You cat-people don’t like the mountains?

Hydrox:  We cat-people don’t like anachronisms.  We don’t trust them.  They let their dogs run loose.  They lie around smoking dope waiting for the uniforms to show up and confiscate everything, haul everyone off to the slammer.

Me:  We’re talking about the EAST mountains, Hydrox.  If they’re paying off the right people it doesn’t matter what they’re doing out there.  Besides, they’re looking for people willing to work.

Hydrox:  Yeah, but work doing what?  Breaking Ephedrin caps out of packages?  Stirring up the mix to dissolve it?  Watching the acetone mist boil over the sides?  Watching the crystal iodine vapor turn your whiskers purple?

Me:  No, Hydrox.  You’ve got it all wrong.  These people are into sweetness and light.  Harmonizing with nature.  Working to build a new world.  A community.

Hydrox:  I’m betting pit bulls checking the fenceline and a National Guard Armory in the barn.

Me:  I don’t know how you got so cynical. 

Hydrox:  I was living with you 2002, 2003, 2004.  So was Niaid.  Those East Mountainers made an impression old cats aren’t likely to forget.

Me:  You’re too suspicious.    Free place to park the RV, mountains, pinons and pines.  Idealistic young people.

Hydrox:  If your good sense about the rest didn’t raise your hackles enough to tell you it’s a snakepit, the idealistic young people ought to do the job.

Me:  Hmmmm.  Yeah, idealistic young people’s where you make your strongest point.  Actually they probably do have a meth lab out there.   Or will have.  How the hell could they not? 

Hydrox:  Pit bulls running around loose looking for a free lunch. 

Me:  So you’re thinking Gila?  Mimbres? 

Hydrox:  I’m thinking anywhere but the East Mountains.  Mosquero if it comes to it.  Albuquerque’s a nice place to visit.  Wouldn’t mind seeing Amy again, see how those two Chinese girls she adopted are growing up.  But you’re too old and we cats are too old to be getting involved with East Mountain people.

Me:  I hate to see you generalizing, stereotyping. 

Hydrox:  I hate to see you not using that big brain you’re stuck with.  Hell, if it weren’t for us cats you’d probably be living under a bridge.

Me:  [Sigh] I’ve got you, babe. 

Old Jules

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Robert Heinlein circa 1966

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by.

Just when you think the early work of RAH is bogging itself down in frozen-in-time anachronisms he drops a mickey into your martini.  Moon is a Harsh Mistress is one such.

Suddenly he’s taking a close look at political revolutions, at the institutions of marriage, at the relationships between men and women [and why they become what they become], why revolutions don’t work usually, and how to prevent them from becoming what revolutions invariably become.  He throws in a quickie about how you can always, always come out ahead betting the horses.  And an imaginary penal colony on the moon, several generations later when the prisoners are only a tiny percentage of a population composed mainly of the descendants of prisoners.

A society where males outnumber females 10 to 1, where the earth is on the brink of starvation and depends heavily on the labors of the Luna population for wheat production, crops catapulted to the earth surface to land in the Indian Ocean.  Depleting inevitably the water-ice reservoirs on the moon with no attempt to replace, even pay for the labors of folks who physically will never be able to ‘return’ to earth.

This was a great read in 1966, the first time I read it.  2013 I read it again, and aside from pickypickypicky details, it’s still a great read. 

Sheeze, catapults on the moon hurling rocks down the gravity well turning out the equivalents of H-bomb explosions after the earth governments dig in their heels and bomb moon colonies as an alternative to replacing the water required to grow the wheat.  A computer gone intelligent.  Marriages lasting 150 years through dozens of multiple-husbands and wives, always being replaced when one dies. 

I’d rank it one hell of a lot better than Stranger in a Strange Land.

Old Jules