Monday, December 25, 2017

'Twas the Night Before Christmas.... Again....

Those of you who have been with me for a while (Thank You!) will remember this little gem I penned back in 2009.  It's been a long time and I wanted to post it again.

==========================

'Twas the night before Christmas
And all through the town
Not a cretin was stirring
Except for one clown

The citizens were nestled
All snug in their beds
Not a thought of this criminal
Passed through their heads

As Santa and his reindeer
Flew away after leaving
Some gifts for the kiddies
Our clown started thieving

When he tripped on the lawnmower
There arose such a clatter
But no one was awake
To see what was the matter

Away to the shadows
He flew like a flash
He found a window unlocked
And he eased up the sash

The thief crept through the house
With a creak of the floor
Then he ransacked the closets
And rifled through drawers

He took jewels and money
And a laptop and vase
Then to carry it all
Grabbed a clean pillowcase

Then the bastard took presents
From under the tree
With no thoughts of the children
Or of you, or of me

On the other side of town
Was a cop on his beat
Rolling 'round in his car
Checking down every street

He was rattling doors too
In his goal to ensure
Not that they were open
But that they were secure

Shining spot light down alleys
Looking in between houses
Naught escaped from his gaze
Not even the mouses

A well trained observer
Who lived for the night
Ever watchful, ever vigilant
Always doing what's right

When what in the beam
Of his light should appear
But the thief with the pillowcase
With a look like a deer

As the cop and the bad guy
Both gasped with a start
The clown took off running
Through the yards and the park

The clown kept on running
Over fences, round bikes
But the cop had another plan
Speaking into his mic

He called in the Cavalry
From throughout the town
On the head of that thief
Soon all hell would rain down

Come O'malley, come Johnson
Come Williams and Powell
Come Smith and McDonald
And Cartwright and Howell

Set up a perimeter
We'll box in that clown
Gimme a unit at the corner
Of 7th and Downs

Downs and 6th, Quinn and 6th
Lastly 7th and Quinn
Then we'll have him surrounded
We will have him penned in

They set up a perimeter
And they sealed up the block
With the thief hiding somewhere
Behind bushes or rocks

Then they called in the K9
Did a yard to yard search
Past the houses, through the park
Even round back a church

And they searched and they searched
They kept searching some more
Behind rocks, in the bushes
In the Dumpsters of stores

The last yard on the block
And the dog finally hit
When the mope saw the fur missile
His last thought was OH GEEZ!

After getting a bite
On his leg from the pup
The clown threw up his hands
And said "WAIT! I GIVE UP!"

"PLEASE MAN, CALL THE DOG OFF!"
Screamed our bloodied up clown
K9 copper yelled "PLATZ!"
And the doggie lay down

All the coppers piled on
And they put him in cuffs
Then the clown started wailing
'Cause he wasn't so tough

I can't breathe... ow, my leg
And such pointless malarkey
In attempts to get handcuffs removed
Nice try Sparky.

The presents went back
To their place un'the tree
Not a thing set amiss
When the kids came to see

In the back of the car
The thief went with a clatter
Neighbors finally looked out
To see what was the matter

When the copper explained
To the folks what went down
They applauded and whistled
At the demise of the clown

Said the copper as he drove
With the clown out of sight
Merry Christmas to all
Thank You!... And Good Night!

Merry Christmas, from the Smith house to yours...

Monday, December 18, 2017

When the Left Hand Doesn't Know What the Right Hand is Doing...

So, today the firearms instructor in me comes out.

I was out to lunch with Moose when several Happy Knoll PD Detectives walked by us, as evidenced by the badges and holsters they were wearing with their shirts and ties.

One Detective in particular stood out to my trained eyes, as my keen powers of observation noticed the location of her spare magazine. It was on her right hip, behind her holster.  I couldn't even find a picture of it online because it simply isn't done, so I had to take this pic to illustrate...




Now give me second to go unfuck myself...  Ahhhh, that's better.

Most of my CCW, shooter and cop readers are either shuddering or staring at their screens in disbelief right now, but for those who don't carry a gun regularly and don't understand, I'll explain. 

"Strong hand" means if you're right handed, you generally control your firearm with your right hand.  You draw with your right hand from a holster on your right hip, press the trigger if necessary with your right hand, press the magazine release with your right hand, etc.  Your left hand is your "support hand" and handles other ancillary duties.  For lefties this is reversed.

Generally, when a handgun is reloaded it's done with the support hand.  The strong hand maintains a master grip on the weapon while the support hand retrieves the fresh magazine and inserts it into the magazine well. 

This would be rather difficult for a right handed person with the magazine on their right hip behind the holster.  She would have to transition tohe pistol to her support hand and retrieve the magazine with her strong hand.  I wonder if she goes to the range like that.

In an ideal world, spare magazines should be reachable with EITHER hand.  This way, in the event of an injury to one hand, the officer could still reload and shoot even with only one "good" hand.

Hopefully the Happy Knoll PD firearms instructors can straighten the detective out...

Monday, December 11, 2017

Did I Stutter?

I don't understand why, after I have stopped a driver, explained the violation, taken their license, registration and insurance, told them they were getting a citation, gone back and written the ticket, then reappeared at their door, some drivers will ask me with utter incredulity...

"I'm getting a ticket?!

Of course you are! Do you think I'm gonna tell you I'm giving you a ticket, go write it, then come back and say "April Fools!"?

I'm beginning to think I mutter, or stutter, or am somehow unclear in my explanations to people, because this happens a lot...

Monday, December 4, 2017

Buyer Beware...

Many new ways have popped up recently for purchasing big ticket items.  You no longer have to go to Best Buy to buy that camera, or a car dealer to buy a car.  You can find great deals on Craigslist, NextDoor, Ebay and the myriad other apps and websites that handle such things.

Then you contact the seller, set up a time and location to meet, and take a large amount of (usually) cash with you to an area you are not familiar with, to meet up with a stranger.  What's wrong with that?

If you find yourself in the position of the buyer in such a transaction, there are some things you should keep in mind.  Never meet the seller in an alley or on a dead end street.  Never meet behind a business.  Never meet in the middle of nowhere.  And if possible, don't carry the cash with you.  Stash it in your trunk, or better yet, go to the bank AFTER you're sure you want to buy.


Many local police agencies have even created "safe transaction areas" or "safe exchange zones" at or near the police department. These areas are populated, well lit, frequented by cops and recorded with cameras.  There really is no safer place to make a large dollar Craigslist transaction, and if the seller won't agree to it, then you probably didn't want to do business with them in the first place.

They're also great for other contentious matters like child custody exchanges or civil processes that you want to have in a safe location.

If you have to make a purchase through an online peer to peer system like Craigslist, do me a favor and protect yourself.  I have taken too many robbery and assault reports from people who trust too much.

Be safe...

Monday, November 27, 2017

They're Gonna Fire Me for This...

I will occasionally have reason to stop a driver in a company vehicle for a traffic violation.  More often than not, this leads to a statement from the driver similar to...

"I'm going to get fired if you write me a ticket"

My usual response to this is to ask "Whyzat?"

Have you had a number of tickets in your company vehicle?  Are you on the verge of being fired for your unsafe driving practices?  Why on earth would your employer fire you if I write you a ticket?

Sometimes the answer is "well, I'll have to ask for time off to handle the ticket".  And asking for time off will get you fired?  I'm not buying it.  Plus, if you handle the citation online or by declaration, and you do online traffic school, you will never miss a minute of work.

Often they'll say the company checks their driving record and they will get fired if a point shows up.  I have worked for many companies where driving was one of my primary job duties.  Not a single one held a single point on your driving record as a firing offense.  I'm not buying that one either.  And if that is your company's policy, perhaps you should improve your driving habits to avoid the citation in the first place.

This doesn't come from the tank truck drivers, the drivers hauling nuclear materials or the pool guy who has a full load of chemicals.  This comes from the guy driving the energy drink truck.  This comes from the landscaper.  This comes from the rental car shuttle driver.

In short, if you have not established a history of poor driving habits, you don't run around getting tickets all the time, and you don't work for some company that transports rockets, top secret materials or metric tons of methyl-ethyl-bad-shit, I doubt you're going to get fired for one traffic citation.  If you do get fired, there's something else going on.

The only person I know of who got fired because of one of my traffic tickets was the guy who wasn't supposed to be driving his company vehicle when and where I stopped him.  It wasn't the first time, he knew he was wrong, and he knew he was well and truly fucked.

But it wasn't because of the ticket...

Monday, November 20, 2017

The Case of the Altruistic School Bus Driver...

I've noticed an interesting dynamic in our motoring public lately.

It all started when I was cruising behind a school bus in Smithville one recent fine morning.  I often do this so I can educate drivers when they fail to stop for the pretty flashing red lights and stop signs on the bus.  I got behind one of the smaller buses and followed for about three-quarters of a mile, then the driver turned on the amber flashers to indicate an upcoming stop.  These amber lights are a visual aid to drivers telling them the lights are going to start flashing red soon, much as the amber traffic signal at an intersection means the red light is about to show itself and you should get ready to stop.

Or floor it if that is your wont....

As I watched the amber lights flash left and right, the bus pulled to the curb, the amber lights went off, and.....

Aaaannnnnd.......

I waited, but the red lights never came on.  The driver spoke with a parent for a few seconds as the child boarded the bus, but the red lights never flashed.  Of course I had to go have a chat with the driver.  I explained to her, in lieu of issuing her a citation, that she was required to turn the flashing red lights on whenever she was loading or unloading children on a highway, but I was sure she already knew that.  Her response was the typical, "I'm sorry officer.  I am fully aware of this and I'll make sure it never happens again."  

Well, that was the gist of her response anyway, although not as polite and with a few choice words thrown in.  At least she kept it mostly clean for the kiddies.

I had to go deal with a separate issue after that contact and I was not able to follow farther.  Fast forward with me to the following week, when I was again on the hunt for school bus light violators (the passing the bus kind), and I found myself behind another small school bus.  I followed for a while, the amber lights came on, the bus pulled over, and.....

Aaaaaannnnnnd!!!!

WTF? Where are the red lights?  Well, of course, I had to go speak with this driver and find out what was the issue.  Imagine my surprise (shock even) when I found myself face to face with the same driver I had spoken with the previous week.  Apparently warnings DON'T work.  Who knew?  So off I went, back to the bike with her driver license, registration and proof of insurance.

When I returned with the citation, the driver explained to me that she didn't turn the red lights on because she saw me behind her and "didn't want anyone to get a ticket."  Come again?  You violated the law, and failed in your duty to ensure the safety of the children boarding and disembarking from your bus because you didn't want me to write someone else a ticket for failing to stop for your red lights?  The lights that are put there to make sure kids can get on and off your bus safely?  The lights you're required by law to turn on, and people are required by law to stop for? 

It is highly likely you violated company policy as well.  But, hell... who am I to argue?  Press hard, you're making three copies.

This series of events set me to thinking.  I know, right?  ME thinking?  But I digress...

It occurred to me that this was not the first time I experienced someone breaking a law in favor of avoiding another law.  I frequently speak with drivers who stop in a bus zone (red curbs, signs and all) to talk on their cell phone.  Invariably they say it is because they didn't want to talk on the phone while they were driving, because that's illegal you know... 

Only problem is, a bus zone ticket is over $400, whereas a cell phone ticket sets you back about $175.  So you violated a law to keep from violating a different law, when you could have just driven the extra 50 feet to the driveway and parked in a parking lot to have your phone conversation.  Funny thing is, that wouldn't have cost you anything.

But the bus driver was the first time I could recall someone saying they broke the law to keep OTHERS from getting a citation.  Normally it's the other way around.  "I wouldn't have had to break the law if that guy wasn't doing something illegal first".

I'm looking forward to the day this one comes up in traffic court. 

It should be entertaining...

Monday, November 13, 2017

Another Public Service Announcement...

I dropped in at my local off-duty Starbucks this morning, and when I drove in to the parking lot I saw this...


We call this an "FBI clue".  Something so obvious ANYONE should be able to figure it out.  When you see a pile of broken window glass on the pavement it is a pretty good indication the last schmuck who parked there left his laptop bag or her purse in the car, the window got broken and their shit got stolen.

Where I work we take these all the time.  Like daily.  SEVERAL TIMES daily.

I've heard all the excuses....

"It's too inconvenient to take my bag in with me."  Is it more inconvenient than paying for the $200 broken window and replacing your iPad?  Maybe you're just too lazy to carry it in?

"I was only in there for a minute!"  And your shit was in the wind in seconds!  It takes no time for a bad guy to smash your window and grab your stuff.

"There was nothing valuable in my bag."  Please, tell me how the bad guys know that?  From outside your car.  Looking in through the window.  They don't, nor do they care.  All they see is a bag in a car that may or may not contain a laptop.  It costs them nothing to smash your window and find out.

"But my windows are tinted."  Okay.  Can you see out through those tinted windows?  Well, guess what.  The bad guys can see in too.

While I have to at least appear concerned when I'm dealing with "victims" of theft, it is difficult to sympathize with them.  But when I suggest that they should have taken their stuff with them, and NOT in the tone I use here, believe me, the responses I get are astounding.

It should be common sense folks, although it seem it is not so common these days.

With the advent of the effective decriminalization of misdemeanors thanks to our California voters, these vehicle burglaries have skyrocketed.  There is really no consequence to being a thief anymore, so now it is upon you, the people, to protect your stuff by not leaving it in your car.

Otherwise, it will be upon us, law enforcement, to come out and take your report so you can make your insurance claims and raise all our rates.

And don't think just because you live in Atherton, or Kensington, or Beverly Fucking Hills you'll be immune to this.

Don't be that guy...