Saturday, May 14, 2005

Flirting with Robert the Pale

All right... true confession time. Yesterday, I was a flirt. There now, I've said it. Feels better, having it out in the open like this. It's strange, the dance we humans do when we're trying to express our attraction for one another. Men try to be impressive, to stand out from the crowd.... usually they wind up making fools of themselves, but that's beside the point. Women, on the other hand, typically go the coy route. Nothing so obvious as actually saying "Hey, I like you; wanna hook up?" but we do try to give out hints, drop subtle clues (which men usually don't 'get' anyway... sigh), anything to let him know that we're interested without actually SAYING that we're interested. Nope, can't do that, heaven forbid that we actually be direct with someone!

So.... what is one to do to garner the attention of a member of the opposite gender? You might guess that my answer is "we flirt." However, I'll bet that you would not have guessed that I, happy wife & mother of one--not the same one, granted , devoted a considerable amount of time today honing my flirting skills with a guy I'll call "Robert the Pale." It all began innocently enough. He whistled at me! I was a bit surprised as it's been a while since I was last whistled at. Nevertheless, I whistled back "just to see what he would do." To his credit he waited a bit before whistling at me again... maybe he knew I was married & was waiting to see if I'd really meant to return his whistle.

It was funny really, the little game we played. He'd whistle, I'd whistle back.... We had quite the exchange. He really seemed "into" our little dance 'til for some reason he quit whistling, apparently having lost interest in me. Now I could have acted like a typical female & rung my hands trying to figure out what went wrong or why he'd gone, but I've never been one to cry over lost chances...besides, I'm happily married, remember?!

So I ask you, did I do something wrong to flirt with this guy today? Whether your answer is 'yes' or 'no' I have another question to pose to you. Does anyone know what you're *really* saying to a bird when you mimic its call back to it?? Yes, I know, what the heck does that have to do with flirting?? Before you go calling my husband to tell him I was cheating on him today, or to tell him he needs to have me carried off in a straight-jacket; let me explain.

Robert the Pale is known to most of you as a bob-white. You know, the bird who whistles “bob-white”?? (Actually, he says “bob, bob-white.”) I had quite the “conversation” with one today while I was hanging out the laundry (nothing like the crisp fresh smell of laundry dried outside in the sunshine). He had to have known that I wasn’t really his type, no feathers, no wings, no beak (though my husband may differ on the ‘no beak’—I might hen-peck at him just a little). I don’t think it’s possible for a bird to be fooled by a human whistling at it—he HAD to have known I wasn’t really a bird. So, assuming that he did know I’m not a bird, why did he keep answering me?? I guess I just got wondering about that this afternoon as I repeatedly whistled “bob, bob-white” back to him. If he knew I wasn’t another bird, why’d he bother? And another thing, what was I saying to him??? Was I flirting? Proposing marriage? Advertising an empty nest? Marking my territory? Telling him off? What did I say? What did I say??????????????

Friday, May 13, 2005

School shooting in Anderson??

Well, I would have never believed it if i haden't heard it on the news... but some school "resource officer's gun accidentally discharged, injuring several students" yesterday.

I think someone needs to fact-check. Guns don't discharge themselves... they need to have their triggers pulled (kinda like pushing someone's buttons?!) The cop let a kid pull the trigger. Duh!! Lucky he didn't get something blown off his body that he'll want later. Duh, duh, duh. I think my husband is going to add this as a new chapter in his book It Takes a special Kind of Stupid...

An Open Letter

Dear Neighbors in Anderson:

When I first heard about an Anderson resource officer's gun accidentally discharging from his holster while he was at school and injuring some of the students I was shocked -- but not for the reasons you might suspect. It seems every month or so you hear about another school shooting, but this one was different to say the least. The first news report I heard about this matter stated that the officer's weapon accidentally discharged while in his holster and that some students were injured. This account implied that the officer was walking along his merry way with his gun holstered and then all of a sudden -- bang! Of course upon engaging my reason I realized that there had to be more to this story. As much as the media would like to have us believe otherwise, firearms are not just sitting around waiting for a potentially dangerous situation in which to discharge themselves. In fact, I challenge anybody to cite even one example of a firearm discharging itself while holstered or otherwise immobilized. But I digress.

As the story unfolded and I discovered the details I was again surprised. What was this resource officer thinking? Was he thinking? I can make a good guess to the answer of the second question. Don't get me wrong, I can certainly understand that we all face moments of carelessness. But I am a law enforcement officer, too; and I simply cannot fathom how any officer could make such a series of gross errors in judgment. As a law enforcement officer I am regularly drilled in weapon retention. In short this means using any means possible including lethal force to keep your firearm either in your holster or in your hand. Like all training it gets to be a reflex. If you are going for my gun, prepare to enjoy the last few seconds of your consciousness if you are lucky or of your life if you are not. All this to say that it is a fundamental rule of law enforcement not to take any chances regarding who is in possession of your firearm.

Of course if the news accounts are accurate, the officer was not reacting to someone trying to steal his weapon but rather daring students to try -- error number one. Is this really a good idea? Would it really be prudent to ask, "Hey, little girl! You wanna reach in my holster and shoot off my gun?"

It sounds like a statement from the Michael Jackson trial. However, I understand that the officer was attempting to demonstrate his holster's ability to retain his firearm. All I can say there is thank God it did retain the firearm because things could have turned out much differently.

OK. For the sake of argument, let's say you have good reason to demonstrate your holster's ability to retain your weapon. Another fundamental rule of law enforcement is public safety particularly when firearms are involved. The first action should be to unload your gun. After all, are you prepared to potentially risk your life and the lives of all the students and teachers in the vicinity relying solely on your holster's ability to retain your weapon? I don't know about you, but I do not trust engineers quite that much. But whether it was another lapse in judgment or a purposeful decision on the officer's part, he decided to leave his firearm loaded -- error number two.

Error number three was perhaps the most forgivable: the officer failed to expect the unexpected. In law enforcement you have to think outside the box and consider all the angles. And even though it is certainly understandable that the officer did not foresee that at least one of the students' hands was small enough to fit inside his holster with his gun -- well, as the saying goes, "Three strikes and you're out!"

I do not want to tar and feather this particular officer although in my opinion I believe he bears sole responsibility for this accidental discharge. And, fortunately, no one was seriously injured or killed. However, this incident does reveal a bit of a problem in law enforcement in particular and in society in general: our over-reliance on technology. Don't get me wrong: technology is a great asset, but it cannot replace our own common sense and responsibility. You see it everywhere from "wardrobe malfunctions" to frivolous lawsuits against manufacturers of everything from automobiles to firearms. I am sure there are already lawyers lining up to sue the holster or gun manufacturer or both, but in the end the ultimate responsibility for retaining the weapon lies with the officer.

Before we start casting stones at this officer, let us consider our responsibilities. Who's responsibility is it to educate and protect our children? The fact that our public education system requires the presence of resource (police) officers should be more than enough evidence for anybody to see that we are heading down the wrong path and have been for many years. Parents have long since left off parenting to the "professionals" appointed by our government. We complain about how bad things have become, but what do we do? In the long run perhaps improvements can be made at the societal level, but that may never happen and will certainly not happen soon enough to affect the children in our care. In the short run we can perhaps make the most effective change of all, get involved with our families on a daily basis. Children need parents more now than ever. And on a lighter note, I would like to thank this particular officer for giving me more material for my future book entitled It Takes a Special Kind of Stupid.