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August 14, 2004

I Almost Died

I have a great deal of respect for the police. These are people who put their lives on the line all the time to keep the rest of us safe.

That being said, I have to relate something that happened to me this past weekend. We took a road trip to Saint Louis for a mini vacation. We were taking Noah to a Wiggle concert on Tuesday, so we figured that we would spend Sunday and Monday just doing some sightseeing.

As we were getting into downtown Saint Louis, there was a very loud thump. I thought we had blown a tire, but I didn't notice anything wrong with the steering. I looked in the rearview mirror and saw a chunk of concrete rolling down the intersate.

I pulled over as quickly as I could and it was at that point that I saw that there were six or eight kids standing on the overpass that we had just passed under. I realized that the chunk of concrete that hit the car was probably thrown by these kids. I grabbed my cell phone and called 911. At the same time, I jumped out of the car so I could try to get a look at these kids. It was at this point that they started running.

I was explaining what was going on to the 911 operator. She was trying to figure out where we were. Since we were past the exit on the eastbound side of the interstate, I was looking back at the exit on the westbound side. I explained that the only sign that I could see was exit 39C. She was hung up on the fact that there is no exit 39C on the eastbound side. I kept telling her that I understood that and that I had no idea what the name of the street was.

Once we figured that out, she asked a few more questions. I explained that we had gotten hit by a chunk of concrete that was thrown off the overpass by a bunch of kids. I could still see the kids running down the street at this point. She asked me if anyone was hurt or if they had broken any windows. I told her that the windows were intact and that no one was hurt. Her next question completely floored me. She asked me what I wanted them to do.

Ummm, lets see... Why don't you get a cop down here to try to catch these little bastards who hit my car.

I told her that I wanted to file a report, but that I really wanted to have someone try to catch up with these kids. At this point, I could still see them.

She asked me if I could make a positive identification of the kids. I couldn't. It took me about a quarter of a mile to get stopped, so there was no way I could point out these kids with 100% certainty, other than the fact that I could still see them running down the street.

She then asked me what they were wearing. They were all wearing jeans and white t-shirts. When I told her this, she informed me that "All juveniles in Saint Louis wear jeans and white t-shirts."

I asked her if she was going to send an officer to try to speak with these kids and she told me that she wasn't. What gives her the right do decide which calls she is going to dispatch and which one she isn't? I really think that they would want to talk to these kids, but I guess not. Plus, I don't know if you have ever been to Saint Louis, but there are cops everywhere. I am sure that she could have had someone there within 60 seconds of when I first called if she had acted on it properly.

Then she asked me again what I wanted to do. I said that since she wasn't going to do anything about the kids, that I wanted to file a report. She informed me that, since I was still parked on the interstate, that she would have to send two cop cars out to take a report and she didn't want to do that. So, if I'm not bleeding, it isn't convenient for you to send someone out to investigate?

I was furious at this point. Not only was I being completely blown off by this inept 911 operator, but it was sinking in that I could have died if was going any slower than I was. You see, I had just seen where the rock had hit the car... The initial impact was about 4 inches back from the front windshield on the driver's side. Had I been going just slightly slower, it would have come through the windshield and hit me. I would have become a statistic... Just another sad story.

At this point, the operator told me that I should just go to my hotel and call back and they would get a report. I was floored, but I went ahead and did it.

The topper to the whole event was when I called back. I figured that the chances that I actually spoke to the same person again was slim when I called in, especially since I was calling the non-emergency number the second time around. As luck would have it, no. I got the same person. She told me that since I could not make a positive identification and that there was no injuries, she wasn't going to send out an officer and that they would take the report over the phone.

To protect and serve? Not in Saint Louis.

"911 is a joke" - Public Enemy

August 02, 2004

The People's Candidate

Tomorrow is election day. Unfortunately, the television ads, radio spots and flyers are not going to stop after tomorrow. In fact, I am sure that it is going to get worse.

Here is my problem... There is no candidate in any election, especially the presidential election, that encompasses what I want to see. And, I think I am not the only person out there that feels the same way. Every candidate is either very left or very right. There is no candidate for the people that sit firmly on the fencepost.

The two party system that the United States employs has evolved into an unusable mess. Democrats vote against Republican bills because they are brought by Republicans. Republicans vote against Democrat bills because the are brought by Democrats.

The system is broken. There is no middle ground.

Where is my candidate?

I am for tax reform and I want my taxes to be lower. I know that I need to pay taxes, but I would really like the pie to be a little more evenly distributed.
I want a strong military, but I don't want to use it unless we have to.
I am for abortion rights, but I am personally antiabortion.
I am for smart gun control.
I want to reduce our dependance on foreign oil, even if it means drilling in Alaska.
I think the environment should be protected intelligently.

This is just part of my list. If I fit in to any political party, it is probably the Republican party. Some of my views are outside of their doctrine, but it is the closest I am going to get. My main problem is that I do not identify with the religious holy-rolling that goes on there.

As with the previous few elections, we will have to choose the lesser of two evils, whichever one that happens to be. At this point, I am not sure there is one.

"Politics... have always been the systematic organization of hatreds." - Henry Brooks Adams