They’re just Jawa’s…

This made me laugh.

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To be fair it was sardonic laughter.

I did however learn something new recently. To some, the price of an unmanned drone is worth approximately 150 Iranian lives. Of course some of those Iranians might have had kids, wives, husbands, grandparents and siblings. So broader impact… conservatively, 2000 Iranians affected? This feels like quite a lot of blood to spill, people to widow, children to orphan.

In the Star Wars movies it doesn’t really work out well for those Jawa’s either…

 

The thin blue line…

I should probably admit that I am likely a bit of a romanticist when it comes to the police-officer and that I have always been impressed with the ubiquitous ‘Bobby-on-the-beat’, armed with their Custodian helmets, sunny disposition, truncheon and whistle. Personally, I preferred the originally iteration which featured a very Prussian looking spike on the top of their convex bulge… and not just because it looked quite phallic… although I feel that was likely a happy circumstance. To steal a quote from the greatest police procedural show ever made, ‘my cock up, your arse’.

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I should ALSO probably warn you right near the beginning that this tirade will eventually, since I am an unashamed Japanophile, circle round and start extolling all things Japanese.  Japan does a lot of stuff that I like really well. (food, swords, trains… gaming consoles) and so I feel compelled to wax on nauseatingly about how awesome they are. Even if I have no actual desire to be Japanese. (seems like A LOT of hard work)

In any event, I’ve always felt that a good litmus test for how enviable (and broadly Utopian) your society is, is how militarized your police force is. There was a time (not so long ago) when police didn’t sport that black overburdened body armor look (with the accompanying carbine). I lament that we have gotten to this point where this has become a ‘thing’, because its difficult now to ever go back to a more pastoral setting where the police didn’t ‘police’ through badass-ity and where they were seen less as enforcers of the state and more like helpful pillars of the community. (I think this might have something to do with the fact that police no longer live in the communities they serve… and that we’ve lost that sense of cohesiveness that comes with tight-knit neighborhoods *shrug* maybe?)

Anyways, this is most clearly illustrated with how Lego figurines have changed over the years. Because I am old now, I still remember playing with the first iteration.  For me this was always the quintessential lawman.

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Its sad that children today could no longer identify with that first version of the police officer anymore…

When I was in Japan I was awed by the police there. Its almost like you’ve stepped back in time. A Japanese police officer will still often carry a keijō as part of his load-out, basically a wooden staff or the shorter version, called a keibo and their sidearm is a five shot revolver affixed with a lanyard in one of those old-school-all-encompassing leather holsters. Initially, when I saw this, I must admit, I was amused, but the more I thought about this the more envious I became.

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Of course, Japan is not like the rest of the world, and in a society with 126 million people they usually have less than ten firearm related homicides per year. Which feels like some sort of clerical error more than an actual statistic. Japan is is not entirely unique in this, but it does feel like the most extreme example of an ideal police force.

There is loads of evidence to suggest that militarizing police actually does very little to make people safer. In fact, the opposite may be true. To be fair, I am very sympathetic to police officers and the tough job they have to do in environments where the chance that you are likely to engage with citizens that have a less ‘live and let live approach’ to resolving their differences with the laws of the land is not zero. And if I were a police officer I would definitely want more firepower, more protection and less pesky oversight in fulfilling my duties.

BUT… on a scale of slippery slopes, the militarization of the police feels especially steep to me.

I don’t have any solutions obviously. I’m just lamenting something that I wish wasn’t so. I also think we are likely past the point of return and that the police and military will soon become largely indistinguishable, other than in name. And that doesn’t feel like a step in the right direction…

Music festival ingenuity

Music festivals and world war one trenches. If you know why these two are connected you have likely been to Glastonbury (and/or similar). In the immortal words of Roger Murtaugh of Lethal Weapon fame. ‘I am (now) definitely too old for this shit’. Music festivals are a young persons game. Actually the same can probably be said for dying in wars. (being older I have merged and become one with my internal pacifist)

I’m super impressed with this dude…

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And… in this person in terms of entrepreneurship…

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Chop chop

I am not squeamish. I always thought I would be. My wife has a reconstructed hip, the kind that’s whacked together with, glue, wire mesh and bone-chips from a dead person. Snowboarding accident when she was a teenager (no not really). In any event they weren’t particularly keen on stress testing that particular area by squeezing a watermelon through a one inch opening. Vaginas are like an inch right? You know… in the closed position. 

*tries to remember*

*Holds his thumb and forefinger up…*

Eh… maybe one and a half. (fortunately my wife doesn’t read my blog, so I am unlikely to get into trouble for this)

In any event both my kids were born via C-section. 

Eventually, during the procedure, the obstetrician got annoyed with me and said, ‘Stand over here, so you can see better’. I was being all big eyed, ‘Oooh whats that?’….

All this blood and guts got me thinking (that somehow I had missed my vocation) and I decided that if I ever got to reload my life from a previous save I might be tempted to take a stab at surgery. But it would probably have to be trauma… because… well… I’d get bored cutting up on pregnant people or removing gall bladders and doing all that mundane service-delivery type stuff all day every day.

On the surface of it, and from watching medical drama series on tv, trauma at least looks like it has some variety and a problem solving element. I have no idea if this is actually true. Also (and again I might be wrong here) but your patient interaction post event seems to be fairly minimal… if they survive your meat-technician-machinations, you can just palm them off to a plastic surgeon who can then fix the smiley face you did with your staple gun… or a more specialized doctor (who can then curse your handiwork). And if they die… all you have to do is come out all stern faced and mumble a few rehearsed platitudes. Easy peasy, Japaneasy.

(you may be able to deduce from all of this that I have a very limited understanding and/or appreciation of what trauma surgeons actually do)

Also… this might be me.

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In fact, those familiar with my work ethic and general approach to most things would likely be surprised if this was NOT me.

Suffer little children…

I took my three year old to the cinema this weekend for the first time. Sorta a fathers day thing. After getting tickets, popcorn and carcongenic slurpee equivalents and taking out a second mortgage on my house to pay for all this frivolity, I then had to explain to my daughter, having never seen one before, what a commercial was (which was actually kinda difficult).

What a time to be alive.

Gone are the dark days when your twenty minutes of Saturday morning Thundercats (trying to think of something suitably eightees) was interjected (at the most critical juncture in the storyline) with ten minutes of psychological warfare and subliminal messaging. All hail Netflix!

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Maybe you also remember those TV test pattern thingies. I suppose depending how old you are, that could mean color swatches… or I suppose (if you are nearing the end of your lifespan now) an Indian head…

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For my kids the equivalent of that is a spinning progress indicator…

Never will my daughter have to experience the rage of your sibling taping over your VHS of carefully curated BraveStarr episodes with My little Pony (when they got to witness a real life version of ‘strength of the bear!’) Nor will they ever have to watch an entire series of Ducktales or Robotech out of sequence.

I worry that this will make them somehow a weaker generation, having not had to suffer like I did.

People problems

Concentration camps.

I’ll give you a clue. Its in the name. Concentration. As in an assemblage. Less in the attentiveness context. I think there is some confusion here.

Firstly with the world war phenomenon that some concentration camps became extermination centers. The two are not the same thing. Really, any temporary structure meant to detain people could likely be called a concentration camp. Although I think the word concentration camp refers mostly to non-combatants since, an assemblage of enemy combatants taken for the purpose of resource denial are called prisoners (and historically get more rights and often better treatment) Anyway, I know to most this semantics. But I think words are important.

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Also. Concentration camps. British invention. Circa 1900. Getting their butts kicked in the second Boer war the British decided on a scorched earth policy to turn the tide of the war.  Broadly this meant resource denial on a massive scale. The British rounded up all the families (the women and children) of the Boer combatants and burnt their farms to the ground, killed their cattle and destroyed their crops. Difficult to carry on fighting when you family is dying in a camp and your farm has been destroyed. In any event thousands of people (mostly children) died in these camps of typhoid and dysentery before the war ground to an end.

I like to point this out because the war crimes of other nations routinely get glossed over and only incidents with higher body counts get remembered and then trivialized on twitter. Which grinds my gears.

Now, having led with my little opening tirade. Are camps on the US-Mexico border concentration camps. Sure, why not. Are they rife with measles, small pox, lice, rats and malnutrition? I’m leaning towards no. Well maybe measles because apparently this is a thing now again. Is there even the remotest possibility that these guys are destined for fake showers and infusion of an Zyklon B? Absolutely and categorically no way in hell.

I can’t speak for brutality against the detained, rapes, beatings, psychological abuse etc. I mean its possible. Experiments have shown as soon as their is a massive power disconnect between people, (most famously the Stanford Prison experiment) things start to go a little awry. Still, I feel there is more oversight these days, and while abusive behavior is still likely, I think its probably less pervasive than we imagine. (I also think my ideas about prison guards and wardens are largely colored by the portrayal and the stereotypical guards from Prison Break and Shawshank redemption).

Which begs the question. What do you do with these people?

Well we could start by asking them nicely not to come. I mean, its quite selfish of them (this is likely only 50% tongue in cheek) to expect other people to take care of them. We could ignore the problem (out of sight out of mind). We could build a massive frikken wall at huge cost to the taxpayer which… well it probably won’t work (unless we add minefields and gun turrets and sharks-with-frikken-laser-beams). We could make it Mexicos problem (we will tax you… and eh… ourselves…if you don’t police your borders). We can cut off aid to countries identified as the points of origin for these migrants (get your people under control, or we will stop giving you money to buy guns and tanks and water-canons… you know… to keep your population under control).

Actually… I have no idea what to do with these people. So really, I am probably fine keeping them locked up (for the moment) while I… deliberate and equivocate and… other words that end in -ate. And since I don’t live in a border town under siege where I can’t take my kids to the park because its littered with crap and trash and people who make me feel uncomfortable about my personal safety… I feel fine. Suck it up Texas.

Popcorn

As a neophyte stoic I fantasize about my own death quite regularly. Wait… does that sound morbid? I suppose it could also come across as suicidal. Really, I am none of those things, in fact, other than I think life is largely pointless I am quite a cheerful mf’er. I guess I just appreciate that the end point of life is death and I’d like my death to be done right. If possible. I mean I realize we often don’t get a say in these things. That’s why its important to prep (and consider) these things waaay in advance.

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In any event. THIS… has now been added to list of possible end-game scenarios. Ha ha.