Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Thirteen Steps

Some friends already know about my encounter in Loyalton, CA with what may have been the Grim Reaper, or just a mischievous ghost. Maybe I'll write about him later.

That's the number of steps they built in the gallows. You climb 13 steps on that last stroll.

What Can You Do; Hard to Know the Answer

Thinking about the balance of authority and individual autonomy, it is tough to figure the ultimate solution. People will abuse power, for the most part. That is obvious from behavior in motor vehicles. An alarmingly large portion of people will choose the path that inconveniences the other driver whenever that is an easy option. Things they couldn't do without the ton of steel around them. That explains the phenomenon in California of hostile young women on the road. "I"ll show you about power, Mr. Man." And the insecure tailgaters who drive oversized vehicles as close as they dare at high speed behind smaller vehicles. Rarely do they tailgate cars of equal size. More than just compensating for other inadequacies, I suspect.

But for the most part the drivers are harmless enough. It is merely the fact that in this culture we still haven't evolved beyond the petty power grab. Actually, I think we are moving backwards. In most places that power grab is expected, especially in 3rd world life. We are hell bent on duplicating that lifestyle, so here we go.

The thing about placing too much control of anything in the hands of authorities--I don't care if we do elect them--is that who is going to curb their appetite and ego? Just look what happens when you give law enforcement free reign to move from protecting your rights to making you prove you are not in violation of any of thousands of statutes and codes. People get used to it. Abuse is like that.

The same abuse applies when considering pure majority rule without constraints. The majority is not always right, fair or humane. That is what seems to be missed these days. The whole idea of a constitutional republic is to give the people voice while at the same time limiting the scope of what their government can do. It is the graying of the boundaries that has resulted in much of our difficulties. The trick used in many cases has been to ignore cases of fraud and forms of force, then declare a problem and make specific laws against Johnny putting gum in your hair or some such thing. Soon you have thousands of these little specifics, replete with conditions and special definitions. The real result is that loopholes have been provided for the real culprits, and their competitors have been thwarted in the process.

Next thing you know you have to pay for permits and bonding if you want to go door to door washing windows, so the people in the 'hood hire Mexicans who come over pretending to shop, but who really come wash your windows cheap and go home at day's end. You can't compete because you are still trying to round up cash to pay the price of being a legal window washer in one story homes.

Then you get stopped at a random check point and they write you up because one of your tail lights burned out. Who knew? But in being written up and ticketed, society benefits, although the cost of all that may be a little pricey considering they could have just said, hey the light's out, here's two bucks, go buy a bulb, and saved taxpayer money.

But, if no one pays attention, the lovely neighbors I encounter in this area would drive with no lights or turn signals at either ninety two miles per hour on the highway, or at twenty two miles per hour, or both. And the people would be bad and all that.

Although I did notice in some of the open areas with speed limits of 80 mph, people settled in to speeds which fit the terrain and conditions when 80 would be a little too fast for safe travel. It was where the limit was 60 or 65 and there was no good reason for it that they drove like lunatics.

It is always a puzzle. Who do I trust with guns more, the average citizen, or the official paid by tax money to hide and catch you doing something? Too bad the motto is not "Protect your rights and freedoms" . That one is a toss up, so I am all for people owning guns if they choose to, and not having to permit them unless they have proven themselves idiotic or troublesome in the past. I've had people shoot at my car before in Greensboro, I think, and Jacksonville Florida, but I've felt more threatened by cops, one on one, who went for their gun because I wanted to read something before signing or otherwise questioned what was going on.

Ever since Mrs Anderson, my kindergarten (alleged) teacher, I have known that authority figures are in no way guaranteed to be more decent and fair than the skid row bum, or the death row convict. That's why strict limits have to be placed on authority and those limits not loosened.

Hot Here Would Be Heaven In Many States

The temperatures have been a little on the warm side during the day, out here in the back country of San Diego County. Of course, the coast has been pleasantly perfect, in the low 70's. I know it was at least 88 F today. Whether it got up over that, I am not sure. That is hot enough when you have only fans and no A/C. The good part is that it drops a lot at night, and if I keep the place buttoned up during the day, it stays fairly cool, at least until mid afternoon.

All the more reason to get a crude fountain built that is portable. I'll use the fan to blow over the falling water and have a home made swamp cooler going in here. Evaporative cooling works well in this location.

There is work I need to do at the black ops house so next week I'll spend a couple of days there, skinny dipping at night, possibly under the glare of the local trophy significant-others. (not PC to say "trophy wives", but that is what I mean). That Rancho X neighborhood boasts more trophies than the women's soccer team and Green Bay combined. And that is per capita, almost.

Tomorrow I have to do some routine things and meet the internet guy and the hvac guy to let them in and discuss the earth shaking discrepancies. It feels good to be useful and to have the feeling that I was more missed than HM (house manager) is letting on. Some of it is obvious from the things that have been let go which I would have dealt with a little more conscientiously.

It looks like the thing to do is deal with all the immediate matters in front of me, and begin to work on other things which could make me wealthier. Having money appears to be a very useful thing, judging from my travels and powers of observation. Obtaining it looks to me like as much attitude and art as anything else. I never downplay the role a person's outlook plays in bringing them abundance. Even jerks can have that part down and although they may think it is their lack of honor that serves them, there is some simple rule which some people get which allows them to get paid.

I've seen too many people who are great at many things, honest, hard working, the whole deal, yet they are no good at getting paid. I've also seen those who are and still have all the honor and character of the first group. Same goes for dishonorable and shiftless slackers--some know how to get paid while others don't.

People who are very good at getting paid often do not trouble themselves with the same trivia which occupies the mind of one like me. That must be part of the art, avoid sweating the small stuff, especially the stuff which has absolutely nothing to do with anything.

Did I tell you I got harassed by border patrol at the permanent check point on I-8 on the way in? Yes, I did. A couple of Mexican agents. So, what are they looking for, I ask myself. Illegals, drugs, and the like, I assume. The guy wanted to know where I'd been, how long I was there, bla bla bla. None of his business. I have no drugos, and I have no illegal Mexicans in my car. That is all they needed to know.

Then the chick says, "Wha's under that blankeet?" So, I dramatically yanked it up off the cooler it was covering as I said, "this is called a TOWEL, it is not a blanket." That shut them both up for some reason and they let me go. I keep things covered from the sun as much as possible.

That started my mind going. The agents in now way thought they were intruding on my rights. Due process and probable cause, and irrelevance of their questions--none of that is within their philosophical grasp. They are protecting Our Borders, and those who do not see what they real problems are and how they came about believe that is enough.

Once upon a time there were some good people in this country who truly believed and promoted the concept of a free country, with maximum individual freedom and minimum control. We've been duped, in the name of very worthy causes, into giving up our presumed innocence, freedom from unreasonable or capricious detainment, search, and seizure--and we are not better off or safer for it.

I'm nice to border patrol, and I even made noise when our federal judicial system railroaded some of them for doing their job. Clearly some underhanded maneuvering involving Mexican officials, US officials and, most likely, drug cartels. That does not mean I think they have the right to mess with me just so they can claim not to be racist. Or just because it makes idiots feel better if we are all treated as criminals so that we might catch a real one every 10000th time. And to do it without telling me exactly what they suspect I am hauling is wrong.

I wish I'd had a couple of young Mexican women under the towel. What a shock it would have been to all concerned. Or maybe a wild Mexican cougar.

"Well, if you aren't doing anything wrong, then you have nothing to worry about." I can just hear that reaction coming from some quarters now. Yes, I worry anytime a person or agency is put in a position of forcing me at gunpoint to satisfy either their curiosity, their dogmatic rules of procedure, or their personal biases. And the inconvenience is not worth to me what the alleged benefits are in this situation.

***These guys may be over the top but apparently I am not alone in the knee jerk reaction which brings those old movie checkpoints to mind Strange as they seem, I hardly disagree with these guys. It is a system which has crossed the line and most people don't mind. But some do. These are certainly strange times. Other than a cop in Arkansas who hung in my left side blind spot and kept driving oddly, only in CA did I see tons of people being pulled, cops hiding in bushes, and checkpoints asking me my business.
I'm not 100% with these guys I'm sure. I think they are within their rights but sometimes do more harm than good, and usually such people go off on tangents that aren't my thing. On the other hand, accountability in how police functions are conducted, and why, is sorely needed***

The problem is deeper than a porous border with a country whose own immigration policies are drastically more draconian than our own. Deeper than the misguided liberal talking points comparing this sort of influx with the kind we experienced when people came, "to be free", seeking opportunity based on their own willingness to work, etc.

There is much of that sort of thing, but much is merely a new class of willing slaves for the modern political plantation that keeps those with the mindset of elitists in power. They say they aren't but all their actions prove otherwise.

The problem is rooted in our own policies, belief that we have to class minorities because they are really not worthy on their own without special treatment--and in exchange, if they are to be considered proud of their ethnicity they must vote a certain way. As we all know, if you are Black or Latino, you think just like all the others in your group. Women need to do the same thing or else they'll be removed from the ubiquitous "minorities and women" phrase on job openings. Women who don't all think alike are not good for women according to Germaine Greer.

One thing we've learned: you don't need to know the English word "towel" to be a border patrol agent.

Maybe those old World War II movies with the "show me your papers" Nazis made too much of an impression on me. I was never much of a war movie fan, and ignored many of them, but the ones where people would smuggle themselves across checkpoints did attract me. French underground, that sort of thing. But I always found it very creepy when some official would detain the heroes and ask questions like, "where have you been? Where are you going?" "Is this your vehicle?" and search whatever they chose to search. Just like Miguel and Maria on I-8's border patrol checkpoint. (It is like a permanent roadblock. Yet they never asked to see my license. Maria did search the very back of my car under the cargo cover.

When our own president pretends (I hope) ignorance by saying to the La Raza crowd that Mexicans were here in Texas before Europeans arrived, I see little chance for the harsh truth to surface. The truth of cultures and nations is much like nature--brutal and unforgiving, and not at all pristine and in happy harmony for all life forms affected by events endemic to those systems.

Bottom line: Why do so many Mexicans find Mexico so intolerable that they risk all to leave and what is their blowhard president doing about it, besides chastising us for not being more hospitable? And why are his laws more harsh toward immigrants if that is how he feels?

CU Creek Pretends not to fire me

So, after being away on the journey that had to end sometime, the old band on the hill here decides to get together for a little practice and conversation. More conversation than picking, but the mood was one for talking.

My confusion stems from the blank I draw when anyone asks about my trip. It was the topic du jour for a couple of months, while it was in progress, and I have little else to say. The important aspects involve my interaction with individuals and that is pretty much our own inter-personal territory and not the best fodder for campfire tales of my adventures.

There may be an event or two which would be tantalizing enough, but just not the sort of thing I care to share. Hell, I got in trouble when I bragged about my new grand niece prior to my departure. Or it felt like trouble. You get a lot of that when you get along with various separate groups and maybe one of those groups in not that comfortable with another.

It did do me good to figure out that my brother was ancient aunt J's favorite. He's so convinced I was, and am, everyone's favorite, even if I don't deserve it, that I think it helps him soothe his conscience over his life long effort to prove his superiority and my incompetence, lack of insight, and general lack of character and meaningful intelligence. I wish like crazy that I did not, deep down, agree with that assessment. His mission, obviously, was a success. It is irksome that he'd never admit to that mission. I think it is the least he could do. After all, I admit that I was generally the favorite of relatives and anyone else who met both of us at the same time. I also admit it had little to do with intelligence or accomplishment. I was just easier to deal with and more fun.

Those days have passed. I am no longer more fun or easier to deal with, as a general rule. I'm closer to the basket case some wished me to be all along.

So, we had a gig, now we don't, and part of the band is playing elsewhere with a guy they sang with for years. I doubt they are changing direction, but I like to make trouble just because I can. I hope we start regularly practicing and seeking venues to perform.

No one said, "You're Fired!" so that is good.

About Me

My photo
Ballistic Mountain, CA, United States
Like spring on a summer's day


Blog Archive