07 May 2008

Is It Finally Over???
All the hype, the promises, the visits...can it truly be?
Yes, Virginia, the Indiana primaries are OVER...(now all we have to do is finish this pitifully long basketball season).
Now maybe we can get back to something called NEWS until November when it starts all over again (as in other than Barack/Hillary-mania).
Myanmar loses over 15,000 lives to cyclone:
Now while any loss of life is tragic, just have to wonder how something like this fits into the universe's scheme of things. Just one more way MOTHER NATURE takes care of overpopulation? That's not a callous statement. Think about it. This planet does what IT wants to, and many times we have absolutely NO power to stop it. All we can hope to do is get out of nature's way. Still, it goes to prove that we, as a species cannot control everything all the damn time simply because we WANT to.
Reward for Philly Cop Killer growing.
A Philly PD officer was killed Monday, and this makes the THIRD officer to lose his life in the line of duty within less than two years. A private reward has been established thanks to businesses and private citizens.
(From the Philadelphia Inquirer)
With more than a hundred tips coming in and a reward that has swelled to $150,000, investigators searching for the third suspect in the weekend murder of Sgt. Stephen Liczbinski pressed on yesterday to meet a self-imposed deadline of capturing the fugitive before their comrade's burial.
Inside the homicide unit at Police Headquarters, detectives backed by federal investigators expressed hope that they would apprehend Eric DeShann Floyd, 33, before Liczbinski's funeral on Friday.
In at least one raid in recent days, police believed they were close to grabbing Floyd, who escaped from a halfway house in Lancaster County in February. They believe Floyd knows he cannot stay in one place too long."It's like he's a ghost," Homicide Sgt. Robert Wilkins said. "This is a guy who is used to hiding."
Liczbinski, a 12-year veteran and a married father of three, was killed Saturday in Port Richmond while pursuing three bank-robbery suspects: Floyd; Levon T. Warner, 39, who is in custody; and Howard Cain, 34, who was killed by police closing in to arrest him that day.
Liczbinski, the youngest of nine siblings, would have turned 40 yesterday. His family released birthday balloons at the impromptu memorial site of flowers and offerings that has developed at Schiller and Almond Streets, where the sergeant was gunned down by a man holding a Chinese-made SKS carbine. Throughout yesterday, members of the Fugitive Task Force huddled at Police Headquarters to pore over the tips that have come in. They were joined by an FBI supervising agent and an official from the U.S. Marshal's Office.Investigators were interviewing anyone, including relatives, friends and associates, who may know Floyd's whereabouts. Detectives have questioned Floyd's mother, grandmother and sister. Authorities have raided more than a dozen homes throughout the city.
Police said Floyd was running out of friends.
Regional Academy Departures Begs Questions
(from the News-Sentinel)
For years it has been touted as a center for the region, but the former executive director and foundation chairman of the Public Safety Academy of Northeast Indiana have now resigned amid fears Mayor Tom Henry's administration will allow the city to control the nearly $27 million facility instead of a group that would ensure its independence.That perception has also angered a state senator who heavily backed the project and helped sell it to state legislators."What I'm seeing, I don't like," said Sen. Thomas J. Wyss, R-Fort Wayne, a ranking member of the senate's appropriations committee that has a say in where state money goes. "The thing that really bothers me is if we lose track of what the intent of that building is, we'll probably lose funding from the state."
Brent Johnson, the former executive director of the academy, resigned last week after the resignation of Peter Eshelman, the former chairman of the Public Safety Foundation of Northeast Indiana, a nonprofit organization that had been involved in fundraising efforts but was set to assume certain managerial aspects of the academy to keep it truly regional and truly independent.Both men had been working on the academy for three years, beginning when then-Mayor Graham Richard was in office.
The facility is a state-of-the-art training center designed to attract not only police, fire and rescue workers from the northeast part of the state, but also federal agencies and rescue workers from across the country. The building, coupled with Allen County Sheriff Ken Fries' proposed outdoor facility, is to be a model across the nation as to how regional training centers can be run and operated.

Situated behind Wal-Mart at Southtown Centre, the academy is projected to be a money-maker for revitalization efforts on the southeast side of town."I think they are very much focused on the Fort Wayne police and fire departments," said Johnson of the Henry administration. "They want to run (the academy) as a city building."Eshelman says Henry told the administration flat-out before he resigned that the academy would be managed as a division of Fort Wayne. Another member of the foundation, Joseph Ruffolo, resigned last month but declined to comment as to why.

In wake of the resignations, Henry appointed Fort Wayne Police Chief Rusty York and Fort Wayne Fire Chief Pete Kelly as the facility's temporary directors. Inquiries to city spokeswoman Rachel Blakeman as to who or what will eventually manage the facility were not answered, but Blakeman said Henry has temporarily moved financial oversight to the city controller's office "in an effort to cut costs and increase efficiency" at the academy."The mayor is looking to ensure it's meeting the expectations of its regional partners," Blakeman said.According to Blakeman, the two remaining members of the foundation - IPFW Chancellor Michael Wartell and Helen Murray of American Electric Power - have agreed to remain in the absence of Eshelman and Ruffolo. Blakeman said Henry will take steps to broaden the foundation's makeup to make it more regional.Neither Johnson nor Eshelman bashed Henry or expressed anger, but said they did not agree with the mayor's current direction. Johnson said his resignation had nothing to do with Eshelman's.

The previous city council had approved a letter of intent to expand the role of the academy's foundation, ultimately taking over management of the facility, Eshelman said. The letter of intent, signed by Richard, was to turn into a contract. When a new mayor and city council took office, a decision on the contract languished."The wheels of bureaucracy did a great job here of getting in the way of something moving really fast," Eshelman said.Wyss had been one of the academy's biggest supporters and worked diligently with Richard, a Democrat, to get the facility built. If not used as intended, Wyss said, it could cost the facility roughly $1 million a year in state money.

"If the mission has changed, the funding source will also change," he said. "Once the budget committee hears about this, they'll want answers."Disappointed that Henry had not contacted him, Wyss said he was "at a loss" as to what was actually going on. He said he had previously taken a lot of heat from mayors in the surrounding area, having to assure them the facility would not turn into a "Fort Wayne" operation.But as of late afternoon Monday, he still had not heard from Henry."Somebody better start giving us answers," he said.
Lets see if the rubber meets the road on this one.
And, in a bit of irony, one of THE neighbors happens to have a landscaping business. Funny thing...HIS property needs mowing, trimming, and weeding...BADLY, and looks like it's the FARTHEST things from a landscaper's mind...wonder why that is? Must be a "cultural thing".
Welcome to HUMPDAY...not the BEST way to arrive at the middle of the week...just the ONLY way.

06 May 2008

They Don't Write 'em Like That Anymore...
What possible correlation could IRON MAN and PAUL SIMON have that would have them mesh together in any conceivable fashion?
Well, for me...it's "personal".
Paul Simon once penned a song back in the 1960s with a three word title.
It was on their "Bookends" album, and was one of the shortest songs I recall, next to "Her Majesty" by the Beatles (last track-side 2-Abbey Road).
And even though it was all of about 30 seconds long, it speaks volumes as to how we view life, what we remember, and how precious some of those times once were.
Time it was, and what a time it was...
A time of innocence; A time for confidences.
Long ago, it must be...I have a photograph.
Preserve your memories...there all that's left you.
Like I said...speaks volumes.

And that brings me up to NOW.
The new IRON MAN movie grossed over $98 MILLION this past weekend, and over $201 MILLION worldwide. So far. Not too shabby for a superhero movie, hmm? I guess Spiderman might be looking over his shoulder just a wee bit.
Granted not ALL superheroes are cut out for the movies. The Hulk (Eric Bana), although it was a decent flick, lacked much of the real character of the comics. Ang Lee was so worried over that, he laughed all the way to the bank.
Then there were the colossal flops of the Captain America TV movies. One movie was fair, and even brought back a villain from the comics (The Red Skull), but the people weren't ready for it. Nor were they ready for the Spiderman TV series (Nicholas Hammond), which did have pretty good special effects for the time.
Seems only the campy Batman (Adam West) and Wonder Woman had any staying power (Batman at least had a theatrical movie made in 1966). The Incredible Hulk (Bill Bixby) did quite well on TV, as it focused not so much on the creature, but the inner turmoil and complexities of Bixby's character and plight.
The reinvention of the classic superhero movie began in earnest in 1978 with SUPERMAN (Chris Reeve) , but as with much of Hollywood, they went to the well too many times, as (imho) only the first TWO movies were excellent. Supergirl didn't do well either. So, the traditional superheroes were relegated to the shelf, as NEW heroes took their place, such as Indiana Jones and Luke Skywalker. We even managed to reinvent Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers (with mixed results).
In 1980, Micheal Keaton was signed to play BATMAN, and I have to admit I was like "are you kidding me?" I just saw him in Gung-Ho and Mr. Mom. He can't do Bruce Wayne OR Batman. Well, I was proved wonderfully wrong, as his portrayal was so damn convincing. Subsequent attempts to portray the Dark Knight met with lukewarm results (Clooney and Kilmer), until Christian Bane took over in Batman Begins. Again, someone you really wouldn't think would do a great job delivered with a spectacular performance. Bane will return in the movie THE DARK KNIGHT this November.
We all know how well the SPIDERMAN series has gone, with THREE (count 'em 3) blockbusters in a row. Then again, the character has such depth to him with all his problems, that most everyone can relate at some level. The FANTASTIC FOUR did OK, not great, but pretty darn good with both movies. The X-MEN was another series of blockbusters, but again, we had an ensemble cast, and not a solitary figure. I won't even comment on Nicholas Cage as GHOST RIDER (glad he redeemed himself in American Treasure).
So now we come to IRON MAN. One of Marvel's "B" team heroes (when he began in the comics he was the second character in TALES OF SUSPENSE behind Captain America).
And it looks like both Robert Downey Jr. and Marvel hit one out of the park with this one! Yes, there IS talk of an IRON MAN II. As far as the other superhero movies slated to come to the big screen...we'll have to wait and see. Some might work, others maybe not. Depends on who's directing and how much of the original "vision" of the character remains intact. Oh, and having the right person starring is a PLUS.
But with all that history aside, what amazes me is that I remember the times I spent in drug stores waiting for the next issue of the comics these movies are based on.
And what a time THAT was.
I have a dear, departed friend to thank for my reintroduction into the world of the 12 cent fantasy. Having started from scratch again (mom tossed a lot of the oldies away...sound familiar?), I began anew to collect certain characters' comics. I have massed a pretty good selection of first issues as well, with many going back into the mid 1960s (yes, I DID learn something in high school...like where all the good comics were kept and at which drug stores...LOL).
Still, it was harmless fun, it didn't cost all THAT much (compared to today's prices which are nothing short of outlandish), and kept a lot of us occupied, instead of allowing us the opportunity to roam the streets like many seem to do today. We cherished those times when we'd plunk down our lunch money or allowance for those adventures, run home and sit in our room to read how our hero got out of last month's predicament.
A simple pleasure?
A guilty pleasure?
Sure, why not?
After all it was a much different time. Gas was cheap (way under a buck a gallon), food was abundant and inexpensive, jobs were plentiful, many boys wanted to be the president, guns were available cheaply (and by mail) but yet we weren't hip-deep in homicides, and all we really had to worry about was nuclear annihilation (duck and cover..yeah, that'll work real good for 10 year olds).
Life was better then.
Isn't it always that way?

05 May 2008

Monday Musings...
If you think this post will be all fluff and no "stuff"...keep reading.
It gets a LOT better, trust me.
I just want to EASE all of you into it SLOWLY, because it IS Monday...AND it's "Cinco De Mayo" (which does NOT mean put that mayonnaise jar in the sink - I checked).
This weekend's grocery excursion had us faring better this week with a deli girl who KNEW what we meant when we stated we'd like the lunch meats THINLY-CUT. Well, we DID go to our regular store.
And we even got in a bit of weeding & planting in our garden as well as out front. It's astounding the number of weeds YOU wind up with when no one else cares about THEIR lawns, isn't it? Still, my wife and I are the type who find simple pleasures the best. A fragrant and growing garden scape, a nice breeze, songbirds at all the feeders...all of this makes owning a house worthwhile.
BUT....there is always...the DOWN side.
(Here comes the GOOD stuff)
We have these newbie "neighbors" (who apparently JUST arrived from the 7th layer of Hades) that love to come thumping down the street, scaring the hell out of the birds (formerly AT our feeders) who promptly fly away, while also attempting to wake the deceased...and this is at 0730 hours!
For cripes sake, get a f$cking LIFE, will you, people?
And it's relatively pointless to call the FWPD on them, as the "priority" set for a NOISE-related call is SO far down the frigging list, that you're fortunate if they show up WITHIN 40 minutes (once in a while you DO luck out, and an officer comes by within 15 minutes only because he "happened" to be nearby), but by THEN, they've either shut the stereo OFF and gone in whatever crib they're hanging at, or just drove the hell away.
I've often thought of saying I saw a GUN...("at least I think i saw one")...JUST to get the police here sooner. But I can't do that...not even to THIS police department. That wouldn't be "fair", would it?
Now I said all that to say this:
One recurring aspect to ALL these neighborhood problems, is that it always comes down to the PEOPLE, and the bad choices they make.
Don't have to tell ME that, though...I see the evidence in favor of that with every new "tenant" that moves close(r) to us. PEOPLE need to change. They NEED a healthy dose of CIVILITY...a sense of PRIDE...a desire to be CONSTRUCTIVE and not destructive in both action and word. And above all, they need to know that RESPECT has always been a TWO-WAY street. If they WANT respect, they have to be willing to GIVE some to others. And it's always better to give it FIRST.
They need some hope and purpose for their pitiful lives, and that hope can't come from a government check every month, or that book of food stamps or that WIC card. It doesn't come from that 40oz, or that blunt, or that crack rock either. It has to come from within that person, first and foremost. Without that much going for them, nothing else will come of them. Church, role models and mentors help to some degree, but every individual STILL has the same POTENTIAL to do for THEMSELVES...all they have to do is TAP INTO IT.
And that's where the problem lies.
It's not the EASY way out. It's damn hard to make such an important, and in some cases monumental decision about YOUR life, especially when you've been brought up to believe that any hand stretched out always gets filled, no matter how lazy you are.
It's this victicratic mindset that keeps all these people exactly where they are, and where they'll eventually wind up, which is at the corner of NO & WHERE (in life).
Now, it's not MY job to tell these people what's wrong with them and their lives. They simply won't listen. They are basically remorseless, unable to be intimidated, but LOVE TO BE intimidating themselves, have no regard for authority (especially the police), and are as disrespectful as the day is long. And all through of this (and perhaps more), we're supposed to call them "neighbors".
Some people might do that with ease.
Me? Not so much.
Hell, many of their OWN people have abandoned them. Their own community might acknowledge their existence, but when it comes to actually getting out there among them and getting THEM to help THEMSELVES (much like the give 'em a fish - feed 'em for a day; teach 'em to fish - feed 'em for life gig), their community doesn't just drop the ball...hell, they start playing for the OTHER SIDE!
Looks damn good on paper, though...lots of ideas, task forces, prayer meetings, discussions, workshops, and the like, but NO REAL ACTION taken for the betterment of everyone involved.
Maybe you really "can't fix stupid", but if people cared more about their own, they could at least keep it (stupid) at bay until some progress is made to get them back on track with the rest of Western civilized society.
To add another log on this fire, a fellow (newbie neighbor from hell) across the street that LOVES to use MY driveway regularly to make his U-turns. Now he already HAS a perfectly good driveway on his OWN property, AS WELL AS a perfectly good ALLEY. Not to mention, he can always do what everyone ELSE does, namely BACK INTO THE DAMN INTERSECTION to go the other way (yeah, the police never seem to catch this chronic behavior going on either).
So Saturday night, I caught him doing his U-turn thing in my driveway for the SECOND time.
OK...enough is enough.
I went outside, pointed to that nice, red NO TRESPASSING sign I have on my garage (right below the spotlight so everyone can SEE it) and said: "Can't you READ that sign, BOY?" Well, (as can be predicted), he got mouthier than hell and didn't like the "boy" comment. A schooled MAN would have enough sense to see the sign, in my opinion. Then he proceeded to mention my ass...some kind of kicking involved. You know the routine with these animals.
Let them growl, let them howl.
He also mumbled something about America being a FREE country. Hell, I know THAT much, but since I'm free to OWN property, I can set whatever "guidelines" I desire (within the law), thanks TO that freedom, and if I choose to LIMIT ACCESS to MY property, that is MY right as a FREE citizen. My property is not FREE TO EVERYONE to do as they damn well please. Any trespass (by definition) is against the law, without the PERMISSION of the owner OF that property. And I didn't see any court order that told me to allow this jerk in my driveway.
I pay the taxes on it (he doesn't).
I invest the sweat equity into it (he doesn't).
And I'll be damned if some pond-scum-sucking excuse for a "neighbor" will dictate freedom to ME. Just because Lincoln freed his ancestors' asses doesn't give him carte blanche to avail himself of everything else that everyone else has. That shit will end here...and now. He IS free to do whatever he wants, but his freedoms end where my freedoms (and property lines) begin...same as his "rights" (which end where MINE begin). That my friends, is called EQUALITY and FAIRNESS. If I leave YOU alone, I only askTHE SAME in return...no more, no less. Simple, huh?
I emailed the FWPD quadrant captain (and pretty much said what I stated here) in the hopes that some intervention can be achieved before this guy gets on my "top five" list (and he doesn't want to be there, trust me).
I mean it really couldn't be considered all that heinous if I perform a CIVIL SERVICE (culling the herd), right? Hey, that's just the way you treat something like this...excise it, before it becomes worse.
It's not revenge...or even justice. It's punishment.
I look at it this way...this schmuck lost the potential for a friend and ally, but managed to make a damn nice enemy in the process.
And of course, I do have a "WATCH-SQUIRREL" now.
Those that learn...live.
Those that don't...well, you get the idea.
Yep...and it's ONLY Monday.

02 May 2008

Friday Follies...
This is one of those "doors to the weekend" that's got us looking at tons o' stuff to talk about. So let's toss caution to the wind and take a stroll through, shall we?
**Glenn Beck had a sobering show on last night, and it started off with (of all things) a video game. Grand Theft Auto 4 is predicted to sell over NINE MILLION copies, but there is something insidious about the game. It is teaching our children to murder, plain and simple, however "vicarious" that may appear on the surface. It worked well enough in WW1 when the military painted silhouettes on targets; the accuracy/kill rate went UP close to 50%. With video simulations for warfare in military training NOW, our kill/accuracy rate is tickling 100%!
So sims DO work...and work damn well.
In Grand Theft Auto 4, you can sleep with a whore, and then kill her in a number of ways, You can cut a policeman in half with a chainsaw, or set him on fire when he chases you, among other (equally violent) things. And this is called "fun"?
Now my wife will tell you that I really LIKE video games, but I never spend all day and night playing them. And the games I choose would be appropriate for my son or daughter (if I had children). My real estate tycoon of a wife loves Monopoly as well as Jade Cocoon. I prefer Armored Core, Air Combat and Rainbow Six. I also like the NASCAR racing games and the Crash Bandicoot games (lots of laughs).
But there are some games out there I find just creep (even) me the hell out...like Silent Hill, and the Grand Theft series. If I ever want to view impulsive, rampant mayhem, all I have to do (most days) is look out my damn WINDOW, so who the hell NEEDS a video game?
Freedom of speech and expression is ONE thing. Freedom to act irresponsibly and produce such "games" for kids to play is quite the other. It's interesting to note that since the advent of TV, homicide rates DOUBLED, and that was when we had GOOD shows to watch, and good parents to make sure we didn't watch TOO MUCH of it.
How times have changed.
**Graffiti comes to the Northeast-

Residents are still cleaning up their homes, properties and vehicles today after some young vandals tagged their neighborhood (the Village at Buckingham). Most "tags" included the initials GTR (and the only thing I thought of was GUNS, THUGS and ROSES...don't ask me why). The police say they have two in custody (I guess CANING the little bastards is out of the question?) and expect possibly more arrests. In a neighborhood that is SO different than the hellhole I have to call "home" (aka the Ghetto at F$ckingham), it's disturbing to find such activity going on. These are the type of people I WOULD feel good living among...not the trash that blight my area.
Then again, I've said all along, that crime left unchecked WILL spread like the disease it is.
Now call me funny, but I think getting some of those prisoners out of the ACSD lockup to clean up the graffiti around the city would be a damn good idea. And maybe we can teach them to fix some BRIDGES along the way?
**Local hockey team in finals-
The Fort Wayne Komets (I know, wrong spelling for COMETS) are in the TURNER CUP finals, and while it doesn't receive NEARLY the attention the STANLEY CUP does, it's still noteworthy to a well-played season for our team. It sure beats the snot out of watching basketball at ANY level here (btw, I can see THAT any time I want too...by looking out another window).
**Indy Teen Suffers Road Rage -
An Indianapolis teenager pulled an elderly woman from her vehicle and beat her to a pulp...all because the woman wasn't going FAST ENOUGH for the teenager. Jessica Vasquez (19) was arrested and faces charges of felony battery of the 81 year old woman (Evelyn Page).
Page suffered cuts, bruises, and her leg was broken in FOURTEEN places!
Now since I'm rapidly becoming one of the "whitehead brigade" myself, I do have a certain "bias" for the elderly woman, but I also have to admit there were times I've gotten behind the "Slowpoke from Hell". There ARE some drivers that go too slow on our roads to be considered safe. Go around them and call it done. Most highways have MINIMUM speed requirements, and just because the streets have speed LIMIT signs, that doesn't necessarily mean you can creep along at 3 MPH (unless it's rush hour traffic congestion...like in L.A.) for the hell of it.
Conversely, this teenager needs some SERIOUS counseling (and a well-placed boot up the ass) for HER behavior. A car is as lethal a weapon as a gun, and a level of responsibility HAS to be maintained, or the result is injury or death. This teen practices none of that. I say ban her from HAVING a driver's license for the next FIVE (or more) YEARS. Vasquez did show some remorse in a profanity-laced interview yesterday. Time to put down that Vigilante 8 video game sweetie, tend to your children, and learn to act like a respectable HUMAN BEING in the REAL WORLD.
** IRON MAN movie to kick off summer blockbusters-
Now here's a case of art imitating life imitating art.
I've had an affinity for the IRON MAN character from marvel comics since the mid-60s,and I have the "stash" of back issues to PROVE it.
My first issue was TALES OF SUSPENSE #78, and I have all the issues up to IRON MAN #1 (which I have doubles of). THAT is a collector's item, friends...and is NOT for sale (but you're welcome to make an offer anyway). I remember when we were teens doing chalk drawings in our street (back in Philly)...I did some Iron Man ones, and passersby would stop and look at them (I also did Captain America and Ben Grimm of the Fantastic Four). Ah, those were the days. Too busy doing artwork to cause trouble...that was US.
Getting back to the character...
Here was this UBER-RICH guy who has everything imaginable, BUT also suffers from a heart condition (due to injury), and creates this armored suit to not only help him LIVE, but to fight the bad guys.
I've just GOT to get me one of those!
Having Robert Downey Jr. portray Tony Stark / Iron Man is brilliant, as HIS own life mirrors the comic book counterpart so well. And since Downey seems to have turned his life back around, what better way to acknowledge this than by playing a "flawed" character like Stark, who also manages to overcome HIS "demons".
Initial revues are looking quite good, and I think this movie could be on par with the Spiderman or X-Men Series. It's got all the right things going for it, and even more with the fact that you have a "superhero" who is OVER FORTY.
Nice to know the world will be "safer" with some of us "older folks" behind the mask...or is that under the helmet?
**Philharmonic homage to Warner Brothers-
Carl Stalling probably doesn't ring a bell to most people. But the next time you watch a BUGS BUNNY cartoon, take a look at the "credits" during the opening, and you'll see his name. He was the person responsible for the "music" in that cartoon. He borrowed liberally from the classics quite often...and deftly so.
The Fort Wayne Philharmonic is presenting a show called Bugs Bunny on Broadway this weekend. It's a tribute to all the classical music that Bugs and Elmer were privy to as they traded barbs of wit and exploding shot shells.
Some of the funniest cartoons were "The Rabbit of Seville" (Bugs runs a "hare" salon - much to the dismay of Elmer Fudd), and the marvelous "What's Opera, Doc?", highlighting the Wagnerian tales of heroes and villains.
It's good, funny stuff, and it's for ALL ages.
And the best thing about it, you'll find out you listened to CLASSICAL music LONG before you discovered Stone Temple Pilots,Led Zeppelin, or Ted Nugent!
So get out there and enjoy , because there IS something for everyone.
And DO Have a safe weekend.

01 May 2008

May Already?
And to think we had a frost advisory the other night. Looks like the garden "newbies" made it OK. The squirrels are getting a bit "anxious", though...
With the advent of a new month, let's see how things are shaping up on the "beautiful" SOUTH side of our fair city.
At the beginning of every month (since 2004), I have provided our FWPD quadrant captain with "items of interest" in my particular area; items I think she'll find useful in keeping this part of the armpit of Fort Wayne from smelling any worse than it already does (plant lots of roses and lilacs to quell the stench). And I've gotten it down to a nice format after some trial and error...even including nice pictures.
Now I don't ask for one damn thing in return for doing this (same goes for all the CRIMESTOPPERS tips I provided over the years). I just want to see my area, an area which has SO damn much potential, from being flushed down the city's crapper and becoming just another ghetto in a second-rate city in the Midwest...that's all.
And whenever the captain tells me how much she appreciates what I do (and that she wishes MORE people did likewise), I just say: "Well, it's what I do", and "no problem" my way into the next month.
I will say I did get a very nice FWPD (S.E. quadrant) set of ceramic coasters two years ago for my involvement. Like I say: "It's what I do because SOMEONE has to do it". I sure ain't standing hip-deep in all this crap for any money, and certainly NOT for any glory. It just needs to be done.
With that said...
(Please note- all of this crap occurred within a THREE BLOCK radius of my house)
We had a total of THIRTY SIX control numbers (calls) generated by the FWPD for various things from traffic stops to loud music to vandalism to domestic disputes. Seems we're a tad "busier" than usual with this warmer weather. But you have to realize, that since none of these folks WORK, they've nothing to DO but beat the co-habitant of the crib, drive erratically, and trash things belonging to other people.
Talk about an UNTAPPED RESOURCE of cheap-ass LABOR (to repair roads, pick up trash, trim alley foliage, etc).
Here's a sample of more local activites:
**Boomcars - 287 that were LOUD ENOUGH to shake the house and make you get up and look...and too many were REPEAT offenders. The city loses a ton of money (monthly) by NOT nailing these perps.
**Speeders - More than 50 PER DAY, and with kids playing IN THE DAMN STREET (when a park is two blocks away), that's a disaster just waiting to happen. And the crotch-rocket riding contingent see fit to use our block as the "staging area" for local drag races.
Wish to hell I could set up bleachers and charge admission (unfortunately, that's against city ordinances) - I could get my 3 acres and house out by Harlan in NO TIME!
**One house at the other end of the block had a month-log "yard sale" (you're only allowed THREE days - 3 times a YEAR - total: NINE DAYS) had about 175 vehicles over. Wonder where he got all that stuff to fence...I mean SELL?He usually ONLY has under a hundred cars over...every damn month.
**I did see ONE (very obvious) drug buy close to midnight out front about a week ago. Amazing what a LASER POINTER will do to scare off some of these perps, isn't it (heh, heh, heh).
**We had over THIRTY "intersectional U-Turns". That's where someone gets too damn lazy to go around the block and does a *360* IN the intersection, effectively tying up any traffic that tries to come by. Nice.
**We had (and still have) OVER FIFTY vehicles PER NIGHT that have improper vehicular illumination such as burned out headlights, tail lights and license plate bulbs. That adds up to some more REAL revenue being missed by the city, doesn't it?
**We had OVER TWENTY instances of "illegal parking" such as too close to a hydrant, DOUBLE parking, TRIPLE parking (believe it), and wrong way parking on a residential street. Of course, when making a drug buy, any old manner to pull up for a minute will do down here.
Now, aside from the fact that the police department is NOT actively pursuing things I have mentioned here (that I can see anyway), would it not be prudent to follow up on a lot of this stuff, since I provide it GRATIS to the department EVERY SINGLE MONTH? Most all of what generates a control number down here is purely a reactive stance.
I will say that when I pissed a fit over the little bastards vandalizing the mailbox the other week, the captain was forthcoming with getting some wheels on my street for a few days to "dissuade" these kids from further activities.
But why should it ALWAYS come down to me having to bitch? Why can't the information provided by me (as well as other credible individuals with enough fortitude to come forward) be taken at face value and then be acted upon?
It does make one wonder what the "priorities" are many days.
The department does a commendable job on the street when it comes to acting on crimes as they occur. One has to ponder the administrative involvement when it comes to proactivity on these same streets to prevent things from happening. In my mind, it all seems to come down to one thing:
WHY does crime occur in areas like mine?
Well, if you even think of mentioning the word "poverty", I'll just walk the hell away. I'm sick of hearing that EXCUSE. I want REASONS...NOT EXCUSES.
How about THESE as REASONS, then?
-Crime will occur in areas where police presence is lower.
-Crime will occur where opportunity exists.
-Crime will occur where people stop caring.
-Crime will occur where houses are being watched
-Crime will occur where perps know they can get away with it.
-Crime will occur in areas where drugs are involved.
-Crime will occur in areas where gangs are involved.
And that's just the "short" list...
I'm very fond of saying that if you DON'T allow crime to play in your area, it WILL go elsewhere. I've yet to see ANY area that had a LARGE POLICE PRESENCE, people giving a damn with little drug and/or gang activity that was considered a HIGH CRIME area, have you?
Take away the opportunity FOR crime, and crime has no choice BUT to move along.
As long as ANY opportunity FOR crime is fostered, and that even means ignorance by the city itself, crime will continue to be an issue in that area (if it doesn't wind up spreading further out).
And as long as that mentality is maintained by ANYONE in power, I'll be there, taking my notes and keeping my stats.

Someone has to do it...it might as well be me.