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Monday, September 24, 2018

Scootermania in Urban Areas

In May of this year I encountered my first experience with scooters being used in downtown areas of a city.  I was in Nashville, Tennessee and was surprised to see many people riding scooters near the downtown area.  Well, the scooter movement has moved further north in the Midwest. Downtown Indianapolis, Indiana is now in the throws of "scootermania".  While downtown this weekend a common sight was seeing a scooter parked along a sidewalk.

I am surprised that their is not more concern about what safety issues come up with allowing people to just pick up and start "driving" a scooter along streets, paths, and sidewalks.  Their is no requirement to prove you can "drive" a scooter without crashing into people, buildings, cars or other scooters.  People are not required to take a driver's test or a written test on the rules of driving a scooter.  No, you just pay and go.

What that means is that pedestrians, buses, and cars are dealing with unproven scooter drivers.  We are at their mercy and can only hope they know how to drive the scooter properly.  I recently saw a video of a scooter rider being hit by a truck as the truck was pulling out of a parking garage.  The scooter rider made no attempt to slow down as he approached the parking garage exit.  He assumed he had the right of way.  Even I as a pedestrian know to look out for cars exiting a parking garage.

But of course when profit is a factor common sense is forgotten.  Now I as a driver have to be concerned about looking out for scooter traffic when I drive downtown.  Just what I needed!  I would urge the "law makers" to consider requiring scooter drivers to be certified that they are qualified to drive in urban downtown traffic.  If not we will hear about more accidents and yes unfortunately someone will die in a vehicle vs scooter collision.  Lastly with winter approaching I hope the use of scooters is banned during wintry weather!

Saturday, August 11, 2018

ABC Nightly News Presents 3 "different" stories featuring black people

The ABC evening news presented several stories one evening this week.  The stories all related to black people.  The first story was related to the discovery of a “compound” allegedly built by or with the help of a black couple.  Somehow the story line turned to a comment that children were being taught to conduct school shootings.  The inference was black people were somehow being taught to target European American schools.  As far as I recall none of the school shootings have involved a black person as a shooter.  So why is someone now trying to tie in black people to school shootings?  It was as if someone was purposely trying to move the discussion on the causes of school shootings into the “black” lane.

A second story was related to a video of a couple of teens harassing and kicking an older foreign man.  One of the teens was black.  Ironically the father of the teen was a black police chief.  The story closed with a comment that the black teen’s actions were being investigated as a hate crime.  Another reversal.  A black person being investigated for a hate crime.  Hate crimes were designed to protect minorities.

The last story was about a white man saving a black teenager from drowning.  A white male coming to the rescue of a black person.

The sequence of stories and the fact that there were three stories featuring black people seemed strange.  Producers of the news make decisions on which stories will be featured in the 25 minutes or so allotted.  Each story appeared to have a theme.  Blacks overseeing the training of kids to become school shooters.    Black people perform hate crimes.  White people are the saviors of black people. 

  We know that the truth normally is that school shooters have been white males and typically have attacked European American middle class and upper class schools.  Minorities are normally the victims of hate crimes.  White people typically do not worry about the lives of black people.

What the news shows viewers has great influence.  It influences thought, beliefs, and follow up actions.  The producer of the news apparently had a story that he wanted to be told.  Another viewpoint related to black people that he wanted to present.  So viewers just understand that people also have underlying reasons for showing certain stories with a different view.  It could be that people are trying to divert you from the truth.

Friday, July 27, 2018

The National Football League and the "flag" controversy

Jerry Jones and son, team vice president Steven Jones, have made themselves clear.  Players are expected to put aside their feelings regarding police brutality, social injustice and racial equality.  When they come to “work” to entertain football fans and television viewers, all players are expected to put their feelings in a box in the locker room and come out to the field as if “all is well” in the real world. The youngster Ezekiel Elliott and his views on standing in unity just underscore that many of the new generation of black people have no real understanding of the journey of black people in this country.  It's a fact and it's a shame.

The history of standing for the anthem dates back to traditions established for military personnel before the year 1900.  Over the years the tradition/ritual has cascaded down to the general public at sporting events.  The fact is there is no need to play the anthem at sporting events.  It was pushed upon us quietly and now has become a ritual that we blindly just follow.  Playing the anthem has now evolved through a careful campaign as being a way to show support for the nation and has been construed now as support for veterans, especially those who have given their lives.  Of course when someone ties in support for deceased veterans it becomes an emotional issue.  Who would dare disrespect a military veteran who died “for the country”?  It was a brilliant move to relate standing for the national anthem with support for those who died in military conflicts. 

So instead of playing the national anthem why isn’t there some type of common prayer done before sporting events?  Or a moment of silence where people can contemplate emotional issues?  Maybe someone wants to reflect on the impact of cancer on their loved ones.  The impact of the opioid crisis.  A time for reflection and quiet prayer by parents and students that they will not be impacted by school shootings.  Time for black people to reflect on how ancestors were killed in race riots and no one held accountable for the murders.  Time to ensure your Native American costume is in order so you can make ridicule of a culture annihilated by your ancestors.

We could reflect on and do so much in those minutes that are now used to continue a tradition we follow as if we are all Nazis in the Germany of Adolph Hitler.  Stand, put your hand over your heart, take off your hat, and sing dammit!  40,000 plus captive robots.

Me.  At basketball and baseball games I just stand silently and think of how in these United States of America Black people were; kept in slavery for hundreds of years; families not allowed to follow natural patterns of growth; men, women, and children lynched; people denied equal treatment based solely on the color of their skin and perpetuated stereotypes; and of how there is little concern when unarmed black people are killed by the armed police?

Jerry and Steven Jones say forget all about that!  Players, put your toe on the line and let’s play this game!  It’s all about control.  What I can make you do by constructing rules, traditions and rituals.
I’ve stopped watching NFL football and purchasing any items sponsored by the NFL.  I’ll try to ensure I find out what companies are sponsoring the NFL and stop feeding my money to those companies.

There are different types of slavery.  Mindless slavery to rituals and traditions is just one form.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Time for the Police to follow Nationwide consistent Policies

I read in a “news” item recently that a local metropolitan police department was reviewing its “use of force” policy.  The thought occurred to me, “you mean there is no general nationwide use of force policy that all departments agree with?”  Apparently that would make too much sense.  Who needs to have armed police forces across the country following consistent policies and practices state to state?  Instead we have hundreds of police departments establishing and following their own criteria for when the police can cross the line and shoot people or beat people senseless for minor offenses.

Since use of force policies impact the lives of people, it would be prudent to develop a basic nationwide policy that all police departments adhere to.  Develop a set of principles and implement them nationwide.  Why is it necessary for each police department to develop locality based use of force policies?

In addition there are no national requirements for body camera use and which technology is best to use.  The use of body camera technology also differs among police departments.  One technology turns on the body camera when the police officers gun is removed from the holster.  Finally only twenty six of the 50 states give de-escalation training to police officers.

 It is highly likely that when hiring police the criteria that weed out the bad candidates is different depending on the criteria of each department.  There is nothing to prevent a policeman or policewoman who resigns from one department from being hired by another department.

As you see there is a pattern of inconsistency.  Having inconsistencies in an occupation where the employees carry weapons that can kill someone is not a good situation.  Especially for those who are the victims.  Once more and more people are victims of deadly mistakes by the police is when a call for action and consistencies will occur.  It’s our human nature.  Unless someone dies from a situation we do nothing.  Let’s change course.  We know what the problems are, so now let’s develop the solutions.  It’s time for nationwide basic standards on use of force, hiring practices, and training of police.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Kirkpatrick Management Company - Poor Customer Services

“I don’t care customer service.”  That is the type of service I have come to expect from Kirkpatrick Management Company of Indianapolis.  On May 2, 2018 I sent in a simple request to Kirkpatrick to have the shutters treated outside windows at my condo.  Kirkpatrick did so last year in response to my request to treat the shutters so birds would not build nests behind them.  In addition the birds had started to peck at my window screens for nesting materials.

After May 2nd I waited for notice that the shutters were treated.  We went out of town several times.  Each time we returned I noticed that the birds were still trying to build nests.  I would have to remove the materials from behind the shutters.  I finally contacted Kirkpatrick and asked them if they had treated the shutters.  The answer was no and they would follow up.  Yesterday, July 10th I sent Kirkpatrick photos of the nesting material I had removed yesterday along with photos of the window screens that had been damaged by the birds.  The response from Kirkpatrick was that they could not send anyone out this week, but that he would look for a contractor to deal with the issue.  That is 2 months and 2 reminders since my initial request.  No sense of urgency to respond to a request that was not honored months ago.

In addition I have not received any support from the HOA Board regarding Kirkpatrick’s lack of efficient services.  But, that is another story.  If you are looking for an efficient property management company, Kirkpatrick is not the one for your property.  I recall when we first hired Kirkpatrick.  They sent their best person to go over what they had to offer.  Then we were assigned a first year property person who had no experience at all.  He did not last long and his services were not very responsive.   It was a classic bait and switch.  Tease the hiring organization with a professional person during the presentation and then assign someone with no experience to provide day to day support.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Fishers, Indiana Library - Culturally Diverse Books Not wanted?

Diversity is not something that all communities value.  One way to determine how much your community embraces diversity is to see how culturally diverse are the items in the public library.  In the past year I have sought books by black authors or on “black topics” at the Fishers, Indiana public library.  Somewhat surprisingly the items I was seeking were not at the Fishers library. Fishers touts itself as being an upcoming and modern city.  Unfortunately that pat on the back does not extend to it being a culturally diverse city.

I sent a request for the items I wanted to be purchased as part of the Fishers library holdings.  Each time the response was met by the library borrowing the book I wanted from another library.  I was then given 30 days to read the materials.

I commend the effort to find the book for me, but cannot commend the library for not purchasing the books for their permanent collection.  Are topics about black people or issues related to black people not worthy of being in the Fishers’ permanent library collection?  Does the library suffer from funding issues?

No one ever responded from the library as to why the books I requested could not be purchased outright.  Maybe one day the library will actually have in their collection a full range of books by black authors or books on topics of interest to more than one culture.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

School Shooter vs Street Runner - Which One Lives?

 A black male running away from the police.  A white male teenager who has just shot and murdered several  fellow classmates in school.  Who has the better chance of living through an encounter with a police man?  If you read all the stories, the evidence seems to show the white male teenager will walk away alive from his  murder scene while the black man will be carried away dead to the coroners office.

Why is that?  Assuming the white teenage male doesn't kill himself after his carnage, why wouldn't the police fear for their lives and shoot the teenager upon sight, especially if the teen is running away from the scene?  What is it about a black male that compels the police to shoot first and ask no questions later?

In the case of "fear" why doesn't the police fear a white male who has just murdered people?  What is it about the back of a black male that compels the police to shoot at it as if a black man's back were a target in a gun range?

I once parked my car near the entrance of a mall store and proceeded to get out of my car.  A white female looked at me getting out of the car and started to trot to her car.  It was as if she thought I was going to approach her and rob her!  I wonder if that same woman would run from a white male teenager she saw approaching her?

Society seems to ignore the number of violent acts perpetuated by white males.  The notion of a dangerous black male appears to be the narrative that society wants to maintain and have us all react to.   Isn't it a fact that the school shootings have occurred in mostly European American neighborhoods?

Do the police not know about events happening around the United States where their counterparts have killed a black man under similar circumstances?  As I addressed in another blog posts, are not the Police Chief's across the country not addressing the "use of deadly force" policies with the rank and file policeman?  If they have maybe the continued use of deadly force has been reaffirmed by those in charge?  Shooting at the back of a fleeing black male must be in the "acceptable policies" portion of the policeman's handbook.