Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Good Guy Excuse

Do the supposed good works of criminals, miscreants and tyrants excuse their bad behavior?  For example, if I save a life am I now fully empowered, entitled and enabled to murder an innocent at random?  May I arbitrarily take the life I just saved?

I have an acquaintance (NOT a friend, simply someone I know) currently serving 8-10 for vehicular manslaughter.  The individual in question “pounded” over a dozen shots of liquor at a gathering and then hopped in his vehicle and proceeded to crash head on with another vehicle, killing the driver and critically injuring the driver’s 3 grandchildren.  His BAC content at the scene was over .20.  Note that the legal limit in FL is .08.  During the pleadings and at the trial, everyone said but “Joe” is such a super guy!  Everyone likes him!  He is the life of the party!  He has 4 kids of his own!  He was in the Air Force for 20 years!   You never met a nicer guy!

OK, so let us, in our utter magnanimity, assume that “Joe” is in fact a truly super guy… does that give him a pass on breaking the law and killing someone in the process?  I say that is an unqualified NO as whatever “nice” things “Joe” has done in the past do NOT place him above the law and rules of good behavior.  “Joe” broke the law and behaved with a complete disregard for the safety of others, resulting in the death of another and the injury of several others.  “Joe” BELONGS in Jail.  People like “Joe” are the reason we HAVE jails!

It is noteworthy that the Judge, upon hearing all the pleading in Joe’s favor, was lenient with the sentencing.  FL law generally calls for a sentence in excess of TWENTY (20) years in cases of DUI manslaughter.   So, “Joe” got a semi-pass on his bad behavior.   Deserved pass?  No.

It is also noteworthy, but not legally relevant, that “Joe” was not the “Saint” that the resident apologista made him out to be.  As someone who knows a lot of people who know “Joe”, “Joe” was known to have done the following:  Commit adultery; pursue sexual affairs without disclosing STD status; used various scummy legal tricks to avoid paying child support; verbal spousal abuse; verbal and physical child abuse; frequent public drunkenness; frequent DUI (never cited);   DUI with children in the car (never cited); At least one other DUI vehicle crash (never cited).   “Joe” also attempted to recant his confession and tried to claim it wasn’t he driving the car at the time, even though it was HIS car involved in the crash and he was standing right next to it when police arrived!  I guess your “Transporter” must have malfunctioned that day, RIGHT “Joe”!

I suppose you folks have noticed that I’ve been quiet for the past couple of months.  A few reasons:  Busy at work, busy with holiday prep, lots going on in my volunteer work, etc… I’d also run out of things to say for the interim.  I don’t like saying the same thing over and over, and this is not a “news” site.  My peers at other sites keep everyone up to date on the latest pet-related outrage.

In any case, I recently found out that someone had left a comment on my “Monsters Among Us” essay.  That involved a Rottweiler miller causing the death of a neighbor back in September.  The comment was worthy of another essay:

“Jerry Lenton has been a friend of mine for over fifteen years and I've never known a kinder, gentler, more generous and generally all around good guy. I was not aware that he owned all those dogs nor do I know why he owned them, but his owning dogs does not speak to the character of this man. I would like to suggest that y'all should stay on topic and stick to discussing the dog situation and leave his vocation and religion out of it as that is in no way related to the issue at hand. I have no first hand info about the dog situation, but I do have significant first hand knowledge of Jerry and his character and none of the comments above are correct. It's ok to have an opinion, misguided as it may be, but please don't presume to comment on something you know absolutely nothing about. Jerry is a good man, a great guy and a true man of God, and no I don't go to his church and have never set foot in it. BTW, I own 10 dogs myself, not rottweilers or pit bulls, however I am an animal lover and I rescue unwanted dogs and find good homes for them. My dogs might damage your hearing from barking to greet you or they may lick you to death, but that's the extent of the harm they would inflict on anyone.”

There is absolutely nothing substantive in the above comment.  The author has done absolutely nothing to excuse Lenton in any way.  Jerry is a “Man of God”?  SURE he was, and so were the Catholic Priests who molested young boys…. The point is???  Hey, I’m sure Bin Laden was a Man Of God, too!

How does “Knowing someone for 15 years” excuse their bad behavior?  If I had known Ted Bundy for 20 years would that get him off the hook?   Hey, Ted is a super guy… let’s just turn him loose!

The bottom line is, I don’t care if Lenton really WAS the greatest guy around.  Everything Lenton’s friends say about him is curious but totally irrelevant.  Similar to “Joe”, Lenton’s disregard for the law, health and safety of others lead to a horrifying death.  And, YES, it is illegal to turn your dogs loose!  The fact that Lenton MAY have done some good things in the course of his life does NOT give him a pass on his reckless conduct.  

When you OWN a dog, YOU OWN everything it does!  QED.

As a footnote, it appears that the Lenton’s ARE being held accountable!   If Jerry’s buds can make the case that Jerry truly IS a super guy, maybe the judge will cut the sentence in half.   I think 8-10 for Lenton would be appropriate.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Modern Savagery

If you live by the sword, you will die by it.  What goes around, comes around.   Actions have consequences, in spite of the fact that you may have secured “protection”.  These are rules of life from which one cannot escape.  Indeed, if you merely PROMOTE “living by the sword” you may die by it! 

A well crafted set of rules protects EVERYBODY.  This premise is the foundation of civilized society.  In the past, I wrote about non-aggression rules:  In order to enjoy the protections of society, each and every member of that society must respect the rights of all others in that society.  Essentially, I don’t shoot you and you don’t shoot me.   Thank you very much!

Refusal to respect the rights of others is plain savagery.  The savage believes that only the strongest should survive, and he with the mightiest sword always comes out on top.  The savage has a complete disregard for civilization, society, or the rights of others.  To them, “might always makes right”.

However, the Modern Savage is an interesting animal.  Too cowardly to engage others in a true free-for-all, the modern Savage expects protection from the State while demanding that everyone else endure their savagery!  In other words, the rest of us must adhere to a set of rules while the Savage does/should not!  This new Savage selfishly enjoys the various protections and comforts that society provides while disregarding the rights of all others around them! 

The current arrangement represents a huge inequality that will end rather nastily for the Savage one way or the other.  In the past, I wrote a tongue-in-cheek short story about what life would be like for the Savages if their State guaranteed protections were simply removed.  Hey, if there is no protection FROM them, there should be none FOR them, either.   You want to take me for a walk?  FINE, lets go!  I am NOT paying the government to promote your interests over mine!   If you do NOT want the police to respond, then they will no longer do so!

If you start hitting below the belt, sooner or later you can expect your opponent to do so, regardless of the set match rules.  People will assert their rights whether those are legally recognized or not.  AND, you Savages will not have a leg to stand on (perhaps literally) as YOU will have eroded or eliminated the rules with your Savage behavior!  Imagine YOUR life after you have dragged everyone else down to your Savage level!

Consider the excellent article by Your Quiet Neighbor.  Link to the original news item is in the article.  A puppy left home alone was hanged from the neck until dead.  Police are going all out to find the culprit.  A few thoughts:
-          How do we know the owner didn’t hang the dog?  In spite of the modern Zeitgeist, SOME dog owners are in fact imperfect!  Indeed, a few may even be cruel!
-          How do we know the dog was not hanged by its own tether?  This is not uncommon.  Of course, we HAVE to blame the “HaterZ” for anything bad that happens to a dog, right?  Dogs, being divine beings, are NOT subject to the laws of physics or nature, RIGHT?
-          Why was the barking situation (disorderly conduct) created by the dog owner NOT ameliorated by authorities?  Oh, wait, THAT is because they are NOBILE savages and none can take action against them!
-          Why is it that authorities are always “too busy” or “too broke” or “can’t do anything” when a dog is used as the instrument in a crime, but there is ALWAYS PLENTY THEY CAN DO when the dog is the OBJECT of a crime?

So, here is what you have:
-          Savage dog owner refuses to obey the law.
-          Savage dog owner refuses to respect the rights of others.
-          Savage dog owner refuses to care for their pet properly.
-          Savage dog owner demands full protection from the state.
-          State refuses to uphold the law when broken by Savage dog owner.
-          State springs to action and upholds the law to the letter when interest of Savage dog owner compromised.
-          The Savage dog owner receives full protection from state.
-          Victims of The Savage get no protection.

It’s obvious to me that authorities in these cases (and there are many) are promoting savagery.  Our neighborhoods sound like kennels, we are not safe in our own yards and public places, and our soil and water is befouled by dog shit.  These are ALL hostile, aggressive SAVAGE acts!

It’s unfortunate that the animal in question had to suffer for the Savage behavior of their owner.  Indeed, perhaps for the acts of ALL Savage dog owners!  Due to the protections that dog owners enjoy, the DOG had to die by the proverbial sword that their owner had chosen to live by.  The true perps in this case were the dog owning Savage and authorities who had protected and promoted the Savage.  Ideally, authorities would prosecute the Savage for animal neglect and creating a nuisance.   The best way to ameliorate actions of this type would be to restrict the behavior of the Savage. 

Non aggression rules.  Live by them or die without them!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Free Rider Problem

Ever feel like someone else was the unfair beneficiary of your efforts?  Even better, have you ever felt relief when the efforts of someone else solved your problem without any effort, expense, exposure or risk taken on your part?

Free Rider Problem explanation from Wiki.  A good excerpt from the article:  “In economics, collective bargaining, psychology, and political science, a free rider (or freeloader) is someone who enjoys the benefits of an activity without paying for it. The free rider may withhold effort or resources, or may impose the costs of his or her activities on others.” 

Many of my neighbors got a complete “free ride”, courtesy of me, when I engaged the rescuer/puppy miller across the street, their landlord, and authorities.  Many of the other neighbors flat out hated what was going on over there, as they were exposed to the same hardships as I.  They would complain bitterly about the barking, dog at large, dog pee and dog crap everywhere, etc…  However, NONE of them would lift a finger to go after the miscreants. They wouldn’t call authorities; they wouldn’t complain to the miscreant, they wouldn’t complain to the landlord.  They refused to even co-sign any of my complaints!  However, they sure did benefit BIG TIME from my efforts!  They didn’t thank me, and there was no need to given that if my efforts benefited only THEM I wouldn’t have bothered!

So, it was ME, completely on my own, who had to:
-          File repeated complaints with AC, police, and code enforcement.
-          Dealt with excuses from above.
-          Perform a significant amount of legal research on my own time and dime.
-          Write and mail certified letters to dog owner, landlord, and authorities.
-          Face down the miscreant *in person* and thereby enduring the most extreme belligerent behavior on multiple occasions.  My friends and family were concerned for my safety.
-          Threaten both the dog owner and landlord with lawsuits.
-          Threaten my landlady with breaking the lease AND suing her for a rent abatement (THAT got her moving!).

So, now peace reigns upon the neighborhood (for now).  Again, my useless-ass neighbors didn’t have to lift a finger to get peace restored to their homes.  I did that for them!  Some of them even saw fit to CRITICIZE me!   I was TOO HARD on the poor couple, they said!

Of course, NOBODY is complaining about sleeping through the night!  Nothing like “Hey man, I really miss laying awake all night listening to those dogs bark!”.  No, it is armchair quarterbacking in its full, insipid glory!

Of course, this is only what I did in relation to the pet problems *on my block*.   My dealings with the larger issues are a similar but much larger story.   I won’t go into the gory details again, but as I noted in this essay and this essay I have made significant efforts to ameliorate the pet problems apparent in my state’s natural areas.  I built significant political credit via my activities in my state trail association, and I have had to BURN most of that credit working a problem that never should have existed in the first place!  I have also engaged my county executive and county attorney directly and those efforts have had some effect.  These efforts include, but are not limited to:

-          Engaging my state park system director directly regarding barking dog problems.  In addition to the letter sent, I have followed up by phone and email on this issue and the director is interested in ameliorating the problem.  Indeed, the pet regulations have become MUCH more strict recently (wonder why!).
-          Engaged individual park managers and park rangers regarding the problem.
-          Engage State Police at planning meetings.  They also seem interested.
-          Engage National Forest Service managers at open houses.  They seem interested in solving the problem.
-          Engaged my county executives and county attorney directly via certified mail and I have followed up with emails and phone calls.  They took my issues seriously enough to shelve an objectionable change to barking dog legislation.  So far, this appears to be a “Korean War” type outcome.  Hey, at least its only difficult to go after the nuisance barkers and not impossible!  So, now you do NOT need a neighbor to co-sign the complaint and the dog can only bark for 10 minutes.  YOU ARE WELCOME!

Why do these people even listen to me?  BECAUSE, I am active and engaged.  See, I don’t spend all my time blogging, I am actually OUT THERE doing useful things.  These people respect me because I cut new hiking trails in Florida in June.  They respect me because they know I do the right thing, and without the support of people like me their jobs would be very difficult, perhaps impossible.  They respect me because I am face to face with them and don’t snipe at them from some internet forum.  They respect me because they know I don’t have to get out of bed at 5am on a Saturday and work all day for free so Florida hikers can enjoy a safe hiking experience, but I do it anyway!   

See, these are the people who make the rules and enforce those rules.  THOSE are the people you have to engage directly and convince.  Preaching hate to a bunch of converts on some obscure web-page won’t do SQUAT.

So, you may ask… why do I have THIS forum?  Primarily to organize all of my thoughts in a place that can easily be accessed.  This forum is a tool, but only one tool of many at my disposal.

In any case, I put forth the effort to earn all this “political credit”, but unfortunately I have to burn it all up in this unending war against the “dogtopians”!  These efforts benefit others:  Thanks to me and people like me, you are now more likely to experience an outdoor adventure in peace and safety… that did NOT happen by itself!  Likewise, wildlife has a better chance of “making it” without constant harassment from out of control pets!

The alternate title of this essay was “Freedom ain’t free”, because it SURE ain’t!  A while back I wrote that to hold a right, one must demonstrate the ability to assert that right.    What that means is:
-          Get OFF YOUR DEAD ASS!
-          TAKE SOME RISK!

To change the subject just a little.  Dog owners enjoy a huge advantage.  Why do you think that is?  Did that happen ALL by itself?  NOPE… it happened because THEY are going to government planning meetings and open houses.  THEY are staging protests.  THEY are confronting executives and law enforcement.  THEY are “packing” planning meetings, town halls, and open houses.  THEY are out there actively promoting their interests.  AND, those interests are often in conflict with YOURS!   This is a WAR and THEY are shooting at YOU!  WHAT are you going to do about THAT?

Know what, if you won’t assert your rights, YOU do not deserve them!  They do not exist!  Look, ANYBODY can sit and complain!  Was it complainers sitting on their asses who won world war II or ended slavery?  NO!  If peace in your home were truly one of YOUR rights, you would do whatever you must to defend that, as I DID.  If you won’t do whatever you must to defend that right, then that right simply does not exist.

Whats even worse is, some of you make a POINT of doing nothing useful!  You have institutionalized worthless whining!  Your position is, “I flat out, pointedly refuse to do anything useful but I will sit here and hurl insults at anyone who does!”.  Wow, how could the world turn without the likes of YOU?

Furthermore, you whiners do NOT have the right to criticize ANYBODY.  You have not earned that!  How DARE you sit in peace and comfort and criticize those who fight your fight for you!  YOU go out there and do what I did and THEN come back and criticize!  The fact that I am making our neighborhoods and parks better for the likes of YOU makes my bile rise… again, if it benefitted only YOU I would not bother!   I respect the dog-nuts more than you because THEY at least put forth the effort!  You want to mix it up?  You want to “take me for a walk”?  If you want to sit at the adults table, you need to act like one and any 3 year old can bitch and complain!!

Put up or shut up!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Monsters Among Us

There are monsters among us, and many walk on 2 legs.  On 20 September, Donald Thomas was brutally killed by 2 Rottweiler dogs while retrieving his mail.  Consider the article for more details.

Key Players and pertinent details of the situation:
-          Donald Thomas, Victim.  Killed by 2 Rottweiler dogs while fetching mail.
-          Sally Thomas, wife of victim.
-          Jerry Lenton, dog owner.  Lenton was housing 31-35 Rottweilers (!!!) on his property to facilitate an apparent breeding operation.   I believe this is Jerry Lenton’s FaceBook Page.  
-          Both dogs involved in the attack were shot dead by police after the dogs redirected aggression towards police officers.
-          As of today, 23 September, no charges have been filed against Lenton, nor have any of the other dogs been confiscated.

I am currently attempting to find out if any of the other neighbors had complained about the dogs prior to this tragedy.  The 2 dogs involved in the killing had escaped several times in the past, but apparently had not behaved dangerously on any of those occasions.  In any case, a breeding operation of this type presents a clear safety and health hazard to everyone in the vicinity.  In addition to the potential dog attacks, an operation such as this presents a serious noise hazard (I’m sure the dogs made their presence known to ALL throughout the day and night) and the disposal of dog feces ALONE would present a major logistical challenge!

The true outrage here is that there is minimal focus on the 2 legged monster that orchestrated this event:  Jerry Lenton!  Get this: Lenton is supposedly a Pastor at the “New Life Fellowship” Church.  What DO you guys worship at New Life, Jerry?  SATAN!?!

While everyone else is debating if Rottweilers should be legal, or how many dogs should be allowed in a household (if any), and the 2 dogs involved got a well deserved “dirt nap”, the true monster still walks among us!   Again, as I have written about in the past, what is unbearably frustrating in these cases is that the focus is PRIMARILY on the dogs, which is NOT where it belongs in my opinion. 

Face it, if it weren’t for the HUGE legal double standard protecting dog owners, Lenton would be in JAIL facing a negligent homicide charge AT A MINIMUM.  If the dogs had displayed vicious behavior in the past, then he should be facing MURDER charges!  It wouldn’t even be debated!  The fact that he has been free even THIS long is an outrage!  What does he have to do, kill the chief of police with his dogs?

OK, super, the dogs involved are dead, but SO WHAT.  Lenton is FREE and he STILL has at least 30 Rottweilers!  THIRTY ROTTWEILERS!  And, this is a dog owner that ALREADY facilitated the killing of another human being with his dogs!  I can barely imagine 30 Rottweilers…That is an entire PLATOON of Rottweilers!  It is a SWARM of Rottweilers!

I can't even get my head around 30 Rottweilers in a suburban backyard.  If someone “Sics” 30 Rottweilers on you, you are DONE.  You are FINISHED.  I don’t care WHAT you are “packing”!  Even if you had an AK-47 with select fire, you would be overwhelmed by 30 Rottweilers!  It would be a massive, unstoppable, wave attack!  You don’t even get to die with the comfort that you took several beasts to the grave with you, as LENTON would just pump out another litter!  Or, TEN litters!  Nuts, he could turn those 30 Rottweilers into 50!  Or 100!   Again, nobody is restraining HIM.

As per the course, my head explodes because not only is there no restraint BEFORE the fact, there is none AFTER the fact, either! 

Lenton has created and unleashed a PLAGUE upon his community, and Thomas was the first fatality.  As with any biological weapon, you want to take steps to prevent the plague in the first place and take further steps to STOP the plague once it has started.  What is most important is, you MUST restrain those who create and deploy living things as weapons!   You don’t ban the plague and let the biological weaponeer go free!

Biological weapons are indeed the most dangerous and insidious weapons ever devised.  ANY other weapon, including a nuclear weapon, has limited destructive power and can only be deployed at the discretion of a human handler.  The biological weapon on the other hand, has 2 characteristics that make it unique:  1)  It will act on its own volition, including turning on its owner/handler, and 2) It can multiply on its own thus granting it unlimited power.   A single breeding pair of Rottweilers can, by itself, turn into a platoon, or even a Division of Rottweilers!

As per “Your Quiet Neighbor” we MUST start contemplating these things for what they are.  Lenton assaulted and murdered Donald Thomas with a home-grown biological weapon!

If Lenton had whipped up a batch of home-grown Ebola virus and killed a neighbor with it, there is NO QUESTION he would NEVER see the light of day again!  Forget about a “mere” murder charge!  He would be declared a terrorist and he would be OWNED by the government!