Tuesday, January 27, 2015

System Failure

    Eleven days ago an RCMP officer, David Wynn, was brutally gunned down in St. Albert, Alberta. The officer and a partner were responding to a stolen vehicle report and had located the suspect in the nearby casino. As they were arresting him the suspect quickly shot the officer in the head. The suspect , Shawn Rehn, was later found dead of self inflicted wounds.

   My sympathy goes out the the officer's wife and family and the larger family of RCMP.

   These two officers had no idea of who they were arresting. The dispatcher had no idea who they were asking these officers to find.

   Who was the suspect? He was Shawn Rehn and his criminal record was horrendous.
     Shawn Rehn had a record of 57 convictions...assault, assault with a weapon, drug possession, possession of prohibited firearms, obstruction of a peace officer, escape lawful custody, drive while disqualified, break and enter, theft and possession of stolen property. At the time of Shawn Rehn's death he was facing 30 outstanding charges. I would also have to think about how many offenses he had committed and had not been charged.
    Shawn Rehn had served about 7 years at various times.

   My question is , "Why was Shawn Rehn allowed the be free on the street?"

    Shawn Rehn was given parole which he blatantly violated.

   The situation is that this creep was on the street and there were many reasons for him not to be free. The system completely failed to adequately look after such a criminal. Obviously the justice system failed along the way to cooperate and share information that would have kept Rehn incarcerated. Our laws give all kinds of support and guidance in looking after a such a career criminal. The whole system failed.

   As a result an RCMP lost his life. What a waste.


Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sometimes You Win When You Lose

     When it comes to being at a certain place at a certain time, there are two kinds of people...those who are early and those who are late. My wife and I are the perfect example of each. I will be sitting in the church 15 minutes before church starts. My wife will scurry in behind the choir. I would rather not go to something if we're going to be late. My wife is completely oblivious to the time. If something is at nine, she seems to think that nine is the time to leave the house.

     At school we had Dan, who was a character, with a terrible late problem. As you know schools don't take tardiness lightly. 

     Dan's lates started gradually. He filled in late slips and dutifully reported to study hall for his detention. Well, unfortunately schools up the ante as the lates continue. Schools even phone home about lates. After a phone call Dan would be on time for a few days or a week and then the whole scenario started over again. So then Dan's very supportive  parents were called in. There was improvement for a short time. The parents made sure that Dan left the house to be at school on time but he was still late. The parents drove Dan to school for a while to get him there on time. 

    One day the vice principal caught Dan sitting on a swing at an elementary school. The vice principal picked Dan up and brought him to school. By this time Dan and the vice principal were good friends even though the Vice principal had laid it on pretty heavy.

    It slowly began to sink into our thick skulls that there was something else at play here and not just tardiness. What could it be?

    The vice principal had his suspicions for a while. Dan was being harassed by kids on his way to school. By coming ten or fifteen minutes late Dan avoided his tormenters.  By having to stay after school he again missed his tormenters.

   So it was finally agreed that Dan would be excused for coming late. He was given some chores to do after school. Dan was satisfied with this arrangement and so were we. We lost the truancy battle but saved ourselves from failing over and over again.

    Are you someone who has to be somewhere 15 minutes before or are you somebody who crawls in just after something starts?

Friday, January 23, 2015

The Hooky Player Who Got a Big Surprise.

      A person I used to skate with reminded me of how I caught her daughter playing hooky and how I handled to situation. I'd forgotten all about this incident but Mom hadn't forgotten. Mom was still somewhat apologetic for her daughter's behavior even though her daughter now has two children who have finished high school.

      Patti was a very nice, quiet, well behaved little girl. She did her work conscientiously.  She was the kind of kid you liked to have in your class.

    One day I had suspicions that Patti and her friend might skip the afternoon. I forget if I overheard something or if kids told me or if I found a note. Sure enough after lunch , Patti and her friend were not there. 

    The usual thing was to immediately send a note to the office and they would take care of it.

    I didn't want this to go through the office as the kid had never been in trouble before. What should I do? Finally , I thought, "I'll phone her Mom and say that Patti wasn't in school and if she knew where Patti was. " Mom was sure Patti was to be in school and was very concerned when she knew Patti wasn't there. Now it was on Moms' shoulders to find her daughter and deal with the skipping of class. 

    I received a phone call later from Mom that she had found her daughter. Mom wanted to know what she should do as far as the school was concerned. Mom knew that there were consequences for skipping school. I knew that there would be consequences in Patti's home for her skipping class.

    Well, I said, "If Patti apologizes to me we'll call it settled." It was a deal and Patti saw me the next day and apologized.

    I'm sure Patti received the proper treatment at home and she never skipped again. I'm sure that this family now has this incident as one of their family stories. 

    So did you ever get caught and suffered an unusual conclusion?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Hooky Playing Gone Wrong

      As most of my followers know I was a teacher for 37 years and it was all at the Middle School level. Needless to say, there were some very interesting occurrences.

      Now some of my former students are in their late fifties and early sixties. Many tales are told of old school days. We are far enough away from the time that everything is pretty funny.

     Bob was a great storyteller and I will never forget one of the stories he told.

     This took place back in the days when kids went home for lunch. Bob came back from lunch and decided he would play hooky (cut class)(skip) for the afternoon. His plan to leave the school was to go out the back door when the bell rang for kids to go the their home room for attendance. 

    As Bob was going down the hall all by himself , he noticed the Principal at the other end of the hall. He thought,"Oh, oh! I'm caught. He knows I'm skipping." But the principal didn't yell at Bob so Bob kept on going.

    Bob was on his way to spend an afternoon fishing. He thought that since the Principal had seen him that his mother would be phoned and when Bob got home he'd hear about it from his mother. When Bob came home for supper , his mother didn't say anything. Bob thought, "Maybe he was going to get away with skipping.

    So off to school in the morning and Bob was sure that the Principal would be waiting for him at the front door. Bob was not called over the intercom. "What was going on?" Everything was fine all morning. 

   Bob went home for lunch and everything was fine.

    Back to school and to home room for attendance. For some reason or other the home room teacher was not there and the Principal was taking attendance. Bob thought , "He knows I skipped. The attendance sheet shows I was absent yesterday afternoon."

    When the Principal got to Bob's name , he said,"Where were you yesterday afternoon?" Bob blurted out, "I skipped." All Bob's buddies thought he was a fool to admit that he skipped when obviously the Principal knew nothing about it. Bob's buddies knew the Principal knew nothing of Bob playing hooky. However, Bob's guilty conscience made him admit his sin.

    Without looking up the Principal calmly said, "Drop by my office after school."

    Bob said the punishment he got for skipping was insignificant compared to all the worrying he  did about getting caught.

   I've often thought about how much the Principal would laugh about this incident as he would have known nothing about the background to the story.

    Now there are just as many stories where  the students were unaware of what had gone on.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Where Has Our Compromise Gone?

      With the events that took place in France last week, I have to ask myself , "Has compromise become obsolete?" Where was the face to face conversation that may have provided information? Where was the conversation that may have provided a small unit of understanding which may have prevented the murderous outburst?

      People may have widely opposing views, but they don't have to kill each other. It's not a black and white world. The winner takes all is a poor way to play the game.

      It seems that when two opposing views collide there's only room for one. Fight the opposing view until it is obliterated and then you get your way.

     In France it was an extremist group that insisted  that Mohammad should not be depicted in a graphical form. The other guys looked at it as a free speech issue. Somewhere there should have been a point where both sides could be accommodated  and everybody wins. Now that would take compromise.

     Some Muslim denominations want Sharia law. Fine for them, but it doesn't have to be forced on those who are a majority and do not support Sharia law 

    Compromise is missing in the Canadian Government. Prime Minister Harper wants to maintain power at any cost so he splits the opposition. He governs with 35% of the vote while 65% voted against him. Our election procedures allow him to use the system to gain power. Of course, he also cheated in the last election. Two of his members have lost their seats because of breaking election spending rules. Many other constituencies have reported robo calls but only one was charged and is now facing a jail term. He governs catering to his supporters but has no consideration for the good of the whole country.

    Christians show intolerance to each other. Ireland is a good example where Catholics and protestants slaughtered each other for many years. They had to be drawn kicking and screaming into an agreement that was a compromise.

    Why is it that groups with different views can not show some tolerance that would allow satisfaction for each. It's not win at all costs. It's not completely destroy the other guy and then you can do what you want. Doing things this way is a major failure. 

    There are many examples of cooperation and compromise to show us that compromise works. I think in Iceland the parliament members sit in a circle instead of facing each other in opposition. That's a simple idea but it works. They have to listen to each other and do not sit in an opposing way. 

     We have to concentrate on looking for examples of how compromise and cooperation work. We have to keep our eye on the positive and work hard to obtain the greatest good for all.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Snow Report

      I would think that a high percentage of my posts have been on snow. Sometimes I'm embarrassed that so many posts are on the same thing.

     Snow is a prominent part of our winter.

    This winter has been one of extremes. We'll get ten days of very cold. We'll get ten days of mild weather. Then to keep things interesting we'll get a good dump of snow. The two thaws we've had, have melted some of our snow. We've also had two rains which is rare for us.

Next time I there'll be brighter sun

    So I thought it was time to give a snow stick report. My stick location is on top of a work table I have in the yard. It's not a good place for a snow measurement but it's easy to get to. So as the snow stick shows , we have a little more than 9 in of snow. Now some of the snow has been blown off the table. Some has been blown on the table. And some has melted off the table so take your pick on how accurate this is.

    Today the sun rose at 8:36 and set at 16:53 for 8 hours and 17 min. of sunlight. We get about 45 min. more sun than on Dec. 21. We're on the way back.

My snow loaded table

My constant faithful friend

One of my favorite neighborhood trees.

The spruce at the end of my street

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Oh How I Miss My Microwave...

      It's funny how much we miss something once it's gone.

      A few days ago someone wondered what it would be like if we suddenly didn't have the Internet. What would we miss? How would we handle it?

     Well, today I had to drop my microwave off for some repairs. I dropped it off in the morning and would be able to pick it up in the afternoon.

     Everything was fine until I went to start my lunch. How do I cook my soup? It took me a minute to think, "Oh ya! In a pot on the stove." I'm used to making one pot of coffee in the morning and when I want a cup of coffee I heat it in the micro wave. What happened before? Did I not drink coffee? Oh yes! We had instant coffee! Anytime you wanted coffee you boiled the kettle and made a cup of instant coffee. I even had instant coffee for breakfast. I had instant coffee at school!

    So today I suffered a little when I had to do without my micro wave. I missed it in so many ways.

    Now the repair turned into a nightmare. As soon as I saw the micro wave I could see marks on the glass part of the door. The marks wouldn't come off. The only thing they knew is that it wasn't scratched. Yes , they would replace the door. They sent me home with my micro wave to wait for a new door. Then I found the same marks on the side. I couldn't get them off either. 

   Now since I had a chance to take a close look at it, I don't think they replaced the door parts they were supposed to replace. But how do I know? I think they just greased the latches.

    So I got a double dose today as I couldn't use my micro wave and had a miserable experience with the repair.

    Wish me better luck tomorrow.