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mermaidcamp

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Detectives, Clues, and Nancy Drew

March 17, 2015 3 Comments

My front yard

My front yard

I am a fan of many of the British detective shows featuring the clergy and other citizen detectives. Father Brown is lavishly produced and beautifully filmed with all the period details in tact.  I like James Bond and the other real detectives on the silver screen as well. Now that I have started to think about story writing and composition of fictional characters I think it might be fun to try my hand at some kind of mystery story, not necessarily a murder.  The spy/espionage element is always exciting, and can express certain political sentiments without stating them.  I have been turning around some ideas about the end of the Civil War and spies on both sides, perhaps some of them deserting or worse, telling secrets. It might be fun to weave true known historical facts with some fictional spies or detectives. My personal detective skills are needed now for a mundane and not very mysterious task, to catch a petty thief.

scene of the crime

scene of the crime

Here in Tucson there is a problem with random vandalism and petty theft.  My front yard is small and visible from the street.  This week one of my hummingbird feeders was stolen, leaving a shiny track of sugar water leading toward the street.  This kind of random theft happens in my yard at least once a year, and usually they haul is more valuable than a single used hummingbird feeder.  The most recent act has spurred me to order a surveillance camera to focus on my walkway to catch the next punk who does damage or steals my stuff.  Prices have come down significantly and apps support all kinds of functions for home security now. Motion activation and night vision HD capture results in high resolution video to identify culprits.  I ordered a deluxe set up from Amazon which will arrive in two days, and works on my home WiFi.  When evidence is collected it can be submitted in a report to the cops and shared with our neighbors on Nextdoor.com.

I am not sure why I waited so long to install this camera. I think of myself as Detective Chief Inspector Morse in my own head, although I am much closer to Nancy Drew in reality.  I read the Nancy Drew books when I was in elementary school and can remember imitating her while playing.  We made up fantasy cases and followed clues, but now I don’t remember any of them.  We liked Nancy because she was a girl, and she always solved the case.  This was a contrast to Dick Tracy, Superman and the Lone Ranger, men with guns or superpowers, who also solved mysteries.  She has made a comeback in modern times once again on the teen detective beat.  I believe Nancy would be proud of me for installing my own remote system to watch my yard. I feel once again like my childhood idol.  I like the feeling much better than helplessly allowing random petty crime to disrupt my peace and quiet.  Do you ever think of yourself as a detective, gentle reader?  Which one is your favorite?

 

Cameras, Corruption, and Cops

August 28, 2014 5 Comments

Well, as through the world I’ve rambled, I’ve seen lots of funny
men
Some rob you with a sixgun, some with a fountain pen- Woody Guthrie

I have been advocating for cameras on cops because it makes sense. Even if you don’t think the police are corrupt you must agree that getting evidence straight is a boon to justice. There is a petition being circulated by citizens who are demanding that all cops be wired with cameras when on duty.  I think it is essential to somehow regain respect for local law enforcement, but many of us have direct experience of cops wildly abusing their power.  My neighborhood has a fake neighborhood watch for the sole purpose of willfully denying crime.  This has lowered our quality of life for years and certainly lowered our opinion of the Tucson Police Department.  It seems that they apply for grant money by gathering signatures and submitting them to some agency claiming that they are doing some kind of relationship building or neighborhood policing.  It does not matter if the signatures are all gathered from folks who are committing heavy duty crimes against their neighbors, or that the cops refuse to respond to citizens reporting those crimes (for years).  They support these corrupt activities with Federal grant funding because it is so easy to defraud the funding agency.  Cops never expect to be investigated and act accordingly.

While I am also saddened by the loss of life and violent deaths of innocent citizens at the hands of cops, I believe that corrupt cops do more financial damage than we can imagine.  I think every word that comes out of  an on duty cop’s mouth must be recorded for everyone’s benefit.  The police departments using the camera system report a huge drop in complaints about the force, so I don’t know why they would resist this idea of recording what they do while they are on salary.  The people with the most potential to damage public trust in the police are the cops who interact with the public “informing” us.   Delivering highly edited and mendacious information is not the same as communicating with the public.  Communication is not a one way street.  Both parties have valid positions in communication.  Both parties are honest in ethical conversations.  In order for the public to have ethical conversations with police we need back up and evidence that protects us…the citizens.  We know cops protect and serve themselves, but I want them to start to protect and serve the public with the same zeal.  I do not think this will naturally occur.  Please sign the petition and communicate with the White House on this important issue.  It would be great to be able to trust the cops.

 

 

Self Defense, YouTube

March 4, 2014 3 Comments

The extraordinary power of the people’s evidence locker, YouTube, is changing the world at a rapid pace.  The police in Rialto, CA are using shoulder mounted cameras to improve their service to the community.  They also have tools for predictive policing.  Since this technology exists and helps reduce waste in the law enforcement budget why are we not outfitting all the cops in the country with these cameras and these crime maps?  Criminals today are tech savvy and steal up to and including people’s identities without even physically looking at them.  Let us act smarter with our law enforcement resources.

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