Techno Weirdo Suffers Heat Fatigue. (Almost)

I’ve spent a good share of the last week geeking on technology issues. Moving internet connections in a smart house is a bit  – daunting. You always think you’ve got it finished only to find out that the smart bed isn’t connected. 

I mean, a bed? But it was not the last. The smart doorbell camera, which is part of the smart alarm, which is part of the smart home system was the final holdout. 

Five times I followed the instructions on moving it to the new network. Five times total failure. 

Then, like all other experts in the field, I decided to watch a Youtube video on how to do it the right way.

Let’s just say the Canadian version was the best. To paraphrase, “Yeah, put your phone in airplane mode, hoser, click on this even though it says it doesn’t work. Then turn on your wifi, log into your new router and she’s nothin but back bacon on the griddle. Don’t whine. It works.”

It did. 

Then, because I had obviously offended God in some serious way, I spent a day setting up all my mom’s devices on her new network. She moved to a new place this week, and to say I’m extraordinarily proud of her for making the move ahead of it having to be done, would be an understatement. Took guts. She’s a tough bird, like her mother, and I sure love her. 

But, that’s not the point of my whining. I spent six hours moving everything over once the broadband guy showed up to hook up her router. I have to say, based on my experience in the field over the last 22 years, that this was a slick, well thought out, multiple dwelling unit solution that takes fiber right into the apartment. We won’t be able to test dial tone until next week, but I’m impressed so far. Nice system.

Now, if I can just keep up with the updates on all her tablets/computers we’re going to win this round. Not that I needed a reason to visit her often, but there it is: we need each other.

Back to heat stroke: it was 94 today. Holy moly. I like driving around with the windows down and the arm out the window. That makes my tattoos too hot. So, I have a couple of sets of sunblock sleeves that look like tattoos. Rolled one of those bad boys down over the left arm, stuck it into the slipstream and viola: nice.

The trees are finally watered at 1937, and it’s time for Bosch on the old video machine. 

Talk to you all next week!

Suicide Needs To Be Transparent To Outsiders

I’m sure this will cause some blowback shortly, but in my less-than-humble opinion, we are doing a disservice when we cover up the cause of death in a suicide. 

I’m not asking for the grisly details. But instead of dancing around the topic, or putting out nonsense like “He died unexpectedly” we should face that fact that one of our fellow humans had lost all hope and ended his/her life by their own hand.

Why? Because when we see that squared away sailors, respected cops, vibrant second grade teachers, ice cream truck delivery drivers, and the clergy all have issues that drag them into the grave early, then we can start to address the mental health issues that led to the death.

For some reason we think that talking around the cause of death is more kind, more gentle, and more polite. Nonsense. Depression and mental health issues are a deadly disease just like heart attacks and cancer. If you realized how common they are, perhaps we would do more to treat them appropriately.

800-273-8255 is the number to call if you’re thinking of harming yourself. Don’t wait. Call that number, or 911, and get some help immediately.

I’d really rather not read that you died unexpectedly.

 

End of rant. 

If It’s Wednesday, It Means Russ Scott Has A Devotional!

Russ assures me that very soon he will have his website up. Then you can turn to him each week/potentially day for inspiration. In the meantime, I’m still making him come down to Florida and weed my garden for the webpostings. Hey, fair’s fair!

 

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The Ask: to the readers, please see the tip jar links information after the devotion. Thank you kindly. 😇

 
The Devotion: Do you feel limited, maybe constrained, or cramped like a foot walking in a shoe that’s a half inch too small? That is painful! The foot feels unable to walk in its full potential. Trust that freedom is coming
Your tight place, limited space, or loss does not deter God’s will and plan. After 430 years in Egyptian bondage, God liberated His people (Ex.12:41). In the Bible book of Ruth, Ruth and her mother-in-law, Naomi, suffered through the deaths of spouses, but hope was on the horizon.
 
In their losses, by God’s providential hand, Ruth followed Naomi to a place of goodness and protection (Ruth 1:16-18). 
 
When Peter was arrested and trapped behind prison bars, he was angelically set free (Acts 5:5-10). Prison bars did not stop God from setting Peter free.
 
The chick eventually hatches from the egg. The cocoon soon releases the butterfly. Your tight place is no concern or match for God. His power is limitless; His purpose is timeless. Press Forward, friends!
 
“For [what] the LORD Almighty has purposed, and who can thwart him? His hand is stretched out, and who can turn it back?” (Is. 14:27). 
 
“But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God” (Acts 5:39).
 
The Action: if today’s devotion inspired you that freedom from harm, liberation from addiction, and being released from a dark season is possible, please help me help others by offering a donation to the tip jar links. Your donation will assist people locally as well as missionaries and elders internationally. Thank you kindly. God bless.

After 42 Years, I Went Back To The Law Enforcement Academy And Graduated Again. This Time As A Citizen.

In 1980 I graduated from the Police Academy in Farmington, New Mexico. I was first academically, last overall – I may have been the worst runner they’d ever had grace the joint and, frankly, I annoyed the Lieutenant in charge with my mere presence. But I did test well on all the other stuff.

Thankfully, the Collier County Sheriff’s Office Citizens Academy (and advanced academy) didn’t make me run. They did challenge me with a few sets of steps in the jail, but nothing too strenuous. 

I would be anything but candid if I didn’t report this experience honestly. So, what I will report on is the program presented by the Sheriff’s Office, and not on the personalities I met there as students – except for Amy. Amy and I became good friends and went out for pizza each week in search of conversation and the best pie in Naples, Florida. I don’t think we settled the issue for sure, but my favorite so far in the region is the Twisted Sheep. Those folks serve an excellent pizza. 

First, the people who ran the program each week were spectacular. I truly cannot say enough about their efforts to make things run smoothly. Unlike my first academy, which provided tea, coffee and hot chocolate but no snacks ( I think they were making sure we could sit for two hours with a full bladder) they made sure we were fed plenty of cookies, snacks, coffee, water and so forth each week. Range day meant donuts. 42 years ago range day just meant picking up brass for an hour after we finished shooting. I’ll take donuts.

But, back to the point: Sergeant Natalie Ashby, Lieutenant Rene Gonzales, and Erin Dever were inspirational. I’ve done my share of training over the years and can honestly say they were the most diplomatic, polite, and tolerant people you could imagine while herding the cats that are citizen recruits. My hat is off to them for representing the Sheriff’s Office with such grace. 

 

Sgt. Natalie Ashby

Lt. Rene Gonzales

Erin Dever

I spent longer in these two academies than I did in the one where I got a badge. Stretched out over the Christmas holiday, I was gone one night a week for about 5 months. 

Each week we’d be introduced to a new set of speakers, new departments within the Sheriff’s Office, and a pantheon of spectacular professionals who were brutally honest with the citizens in the academy.

It’s not easy to snow me in this area. I might be old, but I can smell a dose of bull about a block away. Not once in the academy did I feel that we were getting a snow job. Now, needless to say, the instructors presented to their strengths and the things they knew best. That, my friends, is the amazing part. 

I’ve been writing about, engaged in, or riding along with law enforcement since the 1970s. Never, in all my varied experiences, have I encountered a department that was so forward thinking, so emphatic about doing the right thing, and so focused on training as the Collier County Sheriff’s Office under Sheriff Kevin Rambosk. 

Sheriff Kevin Rambosk

 

In every department we visited, during every presentation I sat through,  and after every hallway encounter, I walked away impressed. One of the main reasons they won me over was that they really tried to educate the citizens about what law enforcement really means as a career. There are no magic 2-hour solutions on DNA testing, no just looking at a print at the crime scene and knowing who left it, or any of the other silly television tropes. 

Instead, the professionals explained the way they worked. They put students into shoot-no-shoot scenarios and let them realize just how fast you have to think – and how rotten they were at handling it without a lot of training. Whether bad guys killed someone because we were slow on the draw, or someone drilled an innocent full of holes because they were trigger happy, it was a revealing experience.

Same said for time on the range. I’ve spent hundreds of hours shooting over the years, and so I watched for the most part. Good instruction. And a surprising number of people who had never fired a weapon of any kind. It was a great chance for them to get a sense of what it was like to really use a weapon as a tool.

This mantra of “hands on” extended to the Advanced Academy where a crime was committed in front of the class and then investigated over the next six weeks. It concluded in a mock trial. I was the juror who wouldn’t convict: they purposely made it ambiguous to make sure the citizens understood how little you accurately remember under stress. A valuable lesson.

In the intervening weeks we toured the crime lab, the county jail (an amazingly clean and well run facility with a very professional staff), saw demos from the SWAT (Special Weapons And Tactics) teams and CERT (the jail’s Corrections Emergency Response Team), met with the aviation units twice for flight demonstrations, and had classes with drones zooming around inside the training building. I must also mention the K-9 units: they were a riot. Dogs have a sense of humor, as did their handlers.

What I witnessed was leadership from the top down. Each level understands what the mission is, how the boss expects it to happen, and what the standards are. Most importantly, if anyone can get a cop to trash talk their peers and bosses, it’s me. I tried very hard to wheedle out some smack, but there was none. 

Perhaps that’s because Sheriff Rambosk has the streets’ back. He made it very clear that if you break the rules you will either be retrained or canned. Same if you commit a crime wearing the badge: you face the law just like any citizen.

Conversely, he wants the truth, and there will be more times that he tells the complainant to pound sand and backs his force than the other way around. Let’s be honest about what cops need: support. They all seemed to feel that the man in the corner office would back them as long as they did their best for the citizens. Truly, isn’t that what you want from your law enforcement people? It’s what I want. It’s what cops want. It’s what’s right.

My friend recently joked that “You’re damned near a deputy after all that schooling.” Nope. Not even close. I love training first responders in resilience and mental wellness. I enjoy doing a ride along now and then. But I’m not sure I’d be good enough to be a part of this department. These men and women are all impressive. 

Thank you, Collier County, for electing a great Sheriff. Thank you, Sheriff Rambosk for putting on this academy.  

Sheriff Rambosk

 

I’m hoping that you’re asking the question that I first had: why would anyone attend a citizen’s academy?

In my case, I knew I’d validate my previous knowledge or find out I was a fraud. I came through pretty well. But for most citizens it will reveal a vital part of their government to them and let them see the challenges our law enforcement people face every day. It is also a great “put up or shut up” moment for fans and critics of law enforcement alike. You will find out the truth in an academy, and walk out with a rational foundation for your views. You might still be a critic, and that’s your right. But you will have an understanding of the human factor and perhaps work to improve the system versus just criticizing it.

My point? You should check to see if your local agency has a similar program. It will open your eyes to what really happens, how tough this job is, and how often the press gets it wrong. I only hope your department is as special and good as mine.