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October 23, 2010

Terrorism close to home

It was quite a spectacle on Thursday as I watched a local mall ablaze. The Galleria Mall is a scant 5 miles away but the plume of black smoke was easily visible from my office window. I was surprised to hear that this fire made national news until I started reading/watching the coverage.

You can easily search for many articles and news clips about the fire but here is the short version.

The mall was deliberately set on fire by a mentally disturbed 23 year old black man named  Alexander Corney Piggee . He entered Game Stop wearing the uniform of a thug (a black hoodie) and carrying a backpack. He talked to the employee and then started a fire. The fire was initially  put out by sprinkler systems but firemen could not go in and investigate the area because of a potential bomb threat made by Piggee. It was unknown at the time if the initial fire was set by the homemade incendiary device or by other means. The firemen played it safe and let the police go in and look for Piggee's backpack that was identified by the Game Stop employee. By the time the robot was sent in to find the backpack, the smoldering fire flashed in the attic space of the mall where sprinklers cannot reach. Much of a section of the 1.5 million square foot mall was destroyed.

I started to get angry at the news coverage for a few reasons, the most obvious that some punk burned down one of the nicest malls in the area. He talked to the Game Stop employee, Dan Kellar, for a few minutes and told him that he was going to blow up the mall. To his credit, the employee tried to talk Piggee out of it and then ran like a Kennedy from a car accident when Piggee brandished a Bic. The employee claims he smelled a chemical, like kerosene, coming from the backpack. Piggee asked some strange questions during the banter and asked if the employee believed in God and had kids.

There were reports of Piggee having a gun but that was only after the Game Stop employee fled the store and grabbed Paul Blart to intervene. Piggee barricaded himself in the store, set a fire and ran out. He was apprehended by police and is being held under arson charges with no bail. 

What irritates me, from the beginning of this story, is that Kellar didn't do anything but talk to this psychopath. Don't get me wrong, unnecessarily risking one's life for a store full of merchandise that doesn't belong to you is stupid. However, it appears that there was plenty of opportunity for Kellar to blind side Piggee or to do something besides run away when Piggee finally pulled out something to substantiate the claim that he was a terrorist. I am appalled at Kellar's cowardice, but not surprised. Our society breeds cowards by the boat loads as social tolerance and diversity are rammed down our throats. They are the "Yeah, but..." crowd. I challenge you to search for this story and see how many news outlets report the race of Piggee. The Galleria Mall is in a well-to-do area (predominantly white) and I would imagine a black male wearing a hoodiee pull over his head set off a few internal alarms. Kellar was probably on high alert and seeing a lighter only accelerated the fight or flight reflex. But I digress...

There are stories of regular people performing heroic acts because they are sick of seeing our way of life decay because of the lack of an individual moral compass. A few immediately come to mind- Mark Bingham, the "Let's Roll hero on Flight 93 and, more recently, Fresno resident Victor Perez who cutoff a truck that matched an Amber Alert description. Because of Perez's selfless act an 8- year old girl was saved. In my opinion, Kellar could have joined these people. 

I was also irritated at the comments of people who condemned the firefighters for not charging into the mall, regardless of the unknown threat of a bomb, and saving the merchandise. My brother-in-law is a firefighter for El Dorado County and these comments hit close to home for me. What people forget is that firemen have lives, families, kids, homes, etc. also. You can easily add any civil servant in this category like the police, EMT, etc. But these people do not care about the personal element of these servants and some even believe it is firefighters duty to protect "stuff". I vehemently disagree- they protect human life, including their own and their fellow firemen, policemen, etc. Stuff is at the bottom of the list and anyone who puts it higher needs to have some priority setting counseling, along with a good horsewhipping.

Most of the interviews show people upset and sad- because they don't know what they are going to do for the holiday shopping season that is rapidly approaching. Reminds me of the Jim Carrey version of The Grinch when he gives a great monologue after running his finger down the side of a brand new car, leaving a nice loud and noticable scratch.

That's what it's all about, isn't it? That's what it's always been *about*. Gifts, gifts... gifts, gifts, gifts, gifts, gifts. You wanna know what happens to your gifts? They all come to me. In your garbage. You see what I'm saying? In your *garbage*. I could hang myself with all the bad Christmas neckties I found at the dump. And the avarice... 
The Grinch: The avarice never ends! "I want golf clubs. I want diamonds. I want a pony so I can ride it twice, get bored and sell it to make glue." Look, I don't wanna make waves, but this *whole* Christmas season is 
The Grinch: stupid, stupid, stupid! 
The interviews with Piggee paint him as a mentally disturbed victim of the system- kicked out of his home a few months ago, alone, desperate. Of course this act of arson came to a total shock to anyone who knew him. Piggee's mother kicked him out of the house because he was old enough to be on his own. This motherly act of kicking the bird out of the nest is admirable and necessary in life- but not when you r son has been to multiple hospitals for psychiatric evaluations! And now we enter into the victim realm of dodging personal responsibility as Piggee was abandoned by friends and family. I guess Obama's anti-bullying message was just a tad too late. Now the mother wonders if there was something she could have done to prevent this tragedy. Uh, duuuuuh!

Piggee is now under investigation for starting another fire at a Wal-Mart earlier that day. Nice.

October 10, 2010

Danica K. fumbles on the 1 yard line. No time-outs, 00:00 on the clock

I watched the trials and part of the Fontana Race yesterday. It was in southern California and the trials were, well, trials. When Danica Patrick, returning to NASCAR after moonlighting on the IndyCar circuit for a while, finished in the mid 30's everyone was swinging off her jock.

Patrick is not the first female NASCAR driver but it seems to me that she has been thrust into the forefront because of some semi sex appeal qualities. The local afternoon radio DJ's talk nonstop about her, but frankly, I don't see what the big deal is- unless she is using her looks to cover up her hideous racing record.  Case and point, the race yesterday where she qualified 13th, beating out 30 scrubs who should be embarrassed they were beaten by a girl. Not too bad, but then she blew it with only 9 laps to go.

Her loss falls into the category of "Rubbing is racing" and her crash is what I call getting "Dale Earnhardted". She wasn't paying attention and gave a little bump to James Buescher, who then Dale Earnharted her ass into a spin out, costing her a finish. Of course Buescher denied an intentional bump but Patrick did everything but call him out on it. 

Again, I don't see the big deal with Patrick. No NASCAR wins, no top tens, no poles. I find it interesting that she has more speeding tickets than wins. Here is a video of the crash, similar to the her first NASCAR crash in her very first NASCAR race. Of course the femi-Nazi's say it was intentional because the (predominantly male) sport just doesn't want to see a woman place- contrary to the ad campaign for Patrick. I call bullshit; if you can't play with the big boys then get off the track.

October 4, 2010

Burning down the house

My brother-in-law is a fireman and I can't wait to run this story by him. Imagine that your house is on fire, the fire department refuses to show up and when they do arrive, they put out your neighbors house and then leave- with your house still on fire. This isn't fiction, and it happened in a small town in Obion COunty Tennessee last weekend. I read about it on as I was reading the hatred some people in this country have towards anyone who isn't a liberal.

There is more to this story however, and it wasn't very well laid out on TP. The county of Obion does not have a fire department, as voted on by its citizens many years ago. In exchange, they do not pay taxes on that service. Seems crazy, doesn't it? However, the city of South Fulton, just outside Obion County on the Kentucky border, offers fire protection services for a measly $75 a year. Gene Cranick and his wife Paulette declined the services, again, this year and as fate would have it their house caught fire.

The Cranicks called for help and the fire department in essence told them, "Sorry, not on the list." In fact, the fire was blazing out of control and caught a neighbors house on fire, who was on the list, and the firemen promptly showed up, put the fire out and promptly left. The Crankicks were pleading with the firemen to save their house and that they would pay anything.  Reporters asked the Fire Chief why they wouldn't save the house and he declined to comment. The mayor of South Fulton had this to say:
"Anybody that's not in the city of South Fulton, it's a service we offer, either they accept it or they don't," Mayor David Crocker said.
Mayor Crocker juxtaposed their fire protection with car insurance. You woulnd't expect an insurance company to pay for a car if the policy had lapsed and you shouldn't expect someone to put out your housefire if you didn't pay for the fire protection. I agree- sort of.

The Cranicks didn't pay and therefore forfeit fire protection. Why anyone in their right mind would pay a measly $75 a year is ridiculous but it is what the citizens of Obion County voted for. What really strikes at the core of the Cranicks decision not to pay is the reason why:
"I thought they'd come out and put it out, even if you hadn't paid your $75, but I was wrong," said Gene Cranick.
He believes he is entitled to the fire protection even though he doesn't want to pay for it. The reality is that it costs money to run a fire department and the $75 yearly fee helps the stations stay maintained and the crews trained. The Cranicks gambled and lost- everything.

However, I do beleive the Mayor and Fire Chief should allow for an on-the-spot payment just for these situations. If they do not want to make the yearly fee and a call is made for a fire response then the homeowner can pay- dearly. If you lose the gamble and your house catches on fire then you will pay a premium fee- $2000, $5000, whatever is decided on.

That seems a little more fair and a little less heartless.

October 2, 2010

Sorry about all that syphillis, Guatemala.

As the Obama administration continues its World Apology Tour 08-12, Secretary of State Clin-ton formally apologized to the Guatemalan people for human STD experiments that were carried out in 1946. For two years, and with the approval of the Guatemalan government, the U.S. intentionally infected people by offering some sexy time with infected prostitutes. Since it is almost impossible to get men to have consensual sex with prostitutes, these pioneers of disease control decided to send the prostitutes to sexually depraved men in prison and in mental health institutions. What better way to conduct a controlled study!

Kathleen Sebelius, the Health and Human Services Secretary, joined in and issued a formal apology to the Central American nation and to Guatemalan residents of the United States. The Guatemalan government was not available for immediate comment, however a former Guatemalan inmate known only as Agador had this to say:
"Even though we were intentionally infected it was one helluva experiment. Lots of bareback sex followed up by a few shots of penicillin or whatever else they were testing. Of course some guys weren't so lucky. Note to self: you cannot treat ghonnorea with penile subcutaneous habanero pepper injections."
Sebelious happened to stumbled on to the experiment while trying to one-up long time rival Susan Reverby, famous for outing a joint Guatemalan-US study called the "Tuskegee Experiment". 
I was looking through some old files that Reverby used to expose the Tuskegee Experiment so that I could post some disparaging remarks on her Facebook page", said Sebelious.
Instead of trying to knock Reverby down a notch, Sebelious decided to go to President Obama who cut Sebelious off in mid sentence and asked her to go with Clin-ton and apoligize. He also suggested that they mention it was probably Bush's fault. Alhtough Clin-ton and Sebelious managed to aplogize, the blame-Bush statement was inadvertantly left out because Sebelious was star struck.
"I used to watch the Crypt Keeper when I was younger and Secretary of State Clin-ton is the best Crypt Keeper impersonator I've ever seen. I just got caught up."