Write Lightning is a blog from writer Deb Thompson.
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Wed, Dec 15 2004

And That's An Order

I can understand why the folks who monitor loss of civil liberties might want to ask the police to be cautious with the use of flashlights as weapons. A flashlight can be a pretty powerful thing to hit someone with. We all know that shop owners and other citizens carry heavy flashlights that require 5 C-cells for more than just illumination. What bothers me about the whole thing is that officers are being told to restrict the use of flashlights as weapons to emergency situations. Who decides that? Sometimes one must determine what is, and isn't, an emergency in an instant. And while I would hope for a non-violent resolution to a confrontation, there are some situations where a cop must assess danger and be ready to act in a physical manner quickly and without hesitation. Because one officer used a flashlight in an unfortunate manner is no reason to take away yet one more weapon from our police officers. That's not a logical solution. Or a practical one.

If an officer ever happens to intervene in a situation in which I find my life at risk, let me make one thing perfectly clear. I am a taxpayer. Cops work for taxpayers. Because of that, I don't care what some lawyer, advocate, commission or judge has told you that you may and may not do in my behalf. You don't own your big old honkin' flashlight. I do. My taxes paid for that big old honkin' thing, and I hereby authorize you to use said flashlight in a manner that would save my life and the lives of those around me.

As a taxpaying citizen, I also authorize you to use said flashlight to protect your own valuable self. I want to know that if some drug-crazed punk has cornered you and I together in a convenience store robbery and has somehow taken your gun or baton that you still have some means with which to protect us. Furthermore, if the department replaces your very proper, big old honkin' flashlight with some pink Hello Kitty penlight, and I just happen to be outfitted with a big old honkin' proper flashlight of my own and, in the unlikely event that I have not already begun to make use of said flashlight on the perp myself, I hereby authorize you to take said flashlight out of my possession and use it with whatever force necessary to subdue the person or persons threatening to inflict bodily harm on the rest of us in the emergency situation. Later, if the perp has questions about the situation having been a true emergency and he or she would like to see you in court, I will come and stand by you in court one-hundred percent.

Agencies, courts and legislators continue to prevent citizens and even police officers from being legally armed with at least as much equipment as the car thieves, drug lords and rapists have. Some of us are tired of it. And it's time to say so.

posted at: 15:16 | category: /Politics | link to this entry

Get Your Tiny Calendars

No one seems to be handing out those little pocket-size calendars this fall, and I needed some to tuck into music folders. I found a site that will let you print four of them on one page. You'll have to endure a few big ads and other busy extras, but if you persist you can get your free printable yearly calendars from Printfree.com.

posted at: 15:12 | category: /Miscellaneous | link to this entry

Bloggers As Journalists: But Wait. There's More

Today's Santa Cruz Sentinel published a good editorial discussing what it means to be a journalist. One of their points is that the world of blogging opens a message to a potentially much larger audience than that of a small-town newspaper. I was so happy to see that.

And then I stopped and realized that this very point becomes an especially important one as more and more people read material online. What if everyone becomes a Judith Miller? If a federal judge would order Judith Miller to jail for knowledge she might have after researching her work for a print newspaper, how much more controlling might federal judges become at the thought of mom-and-pop bloggers revealing material to anyone on the planet who might access their blog? In that case, the notion that bloggers are journalists, while desirable to some, might become the very thing that sends federal prosecutors scrambling to interrogate us in regard to our sources and research. If we want the title, we might also have to be ready to stand our ground in the fray.

And if they come for us, maybe you're next, with your cheeky bumper sticker and your angry letter to the editor and the rest of your free speech rights.

posted at: 09:45 | category: /Writing Life | link to this entry

Recovering And Advancing

This whole Pale Male and Lola saga is the stuff that inspires great American stories and folk songs. I think it's rather a good thing that New Yorkers are making a fuss. Ever since 9-11 the city has been doing what it needs to do to keep going. Pale Male and his kind are a symbol of all who survive the tragedies and misfortune that make humans feel out of control in their surroundings. And while the Libertarian part of me wants to remind everyone that the building's owners have a right to maintain their building in their own fashion, there are other parts of me cheering this morning now that the owners have seen the light and have buckled to the pressure from others to invite the birds back to their 12th floor home. Their decision should be cheered, because they realize that, while some things out of our control drain us of power, giving in to a good power beyond our control is a sign of recognition that we are all in this life journey together.

We saw a lot of eagles used in art following 9-11, but now, in full recovery mode, I have a feeling we might be seeing a lot more of enduring red-tailed hawks like Pale Male and Lola.

posted at: 06:26 | category: /Religious and Spiritual | link to this entry

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Stealin' copy is as bad as horse-thievin'
and cattle rustlin'! Lightning may strike
such varmints when they least expect it!