Friday, February 29, 2008

On the art of merging...

Over the years, I have noticed a number of traits in my fellow drivers that border on the criminal. I'm sure I could list a litany of sins regularly performed by many drivers, which at the very least cause us to tear our collective hair out and at the very worst, can result in chaos and death on our roads.

1. People who can't merge...

Amongst these bad habits, is those who refuse to learn (or are totally incapable of grasping...) the art of merging with other traffic. It should not take an astrophysicist to decipher that merge ramps are there for one purpose and one purpose only. They are generally of a length sufficient to allow any vehicle to attain the speed required to merge successfully with the flow of traffic on that particular roadway.

For those of you who may not be familiar with merging, that is the aim point of the merging process. You must be travelling the same speed as the traffic you wish to join, by the time you hit the end of the merge ramp. That's why they call it merging. Crawling onto a highway or a freeway where the traffic is zipping by at 100kmh plus, when you're doing 40kmh at best, is NOT merging. That is called: "tempting the hand of God". It is called: "Brace yourself because we're about to get a Mack truck suppository!" It is called: "Look Ma... I'm fixin' to die in a horrific fireball of doom!" Drivers who find themselves doing this, regardless of sex or age, should immediately park their car, mail in their driver's license to their local motor vehicles branch, with a note explaining that they are too fucking retarded to drive a motor vehicle, and buy a lifetime bus pass.

When I am on any highway or freeway, whether I am riding my bike or driving a car or other vehicle, you will NEVER find me in the right-hand lane. The only time my shadow will darken that lane, is if I am just about to take an off-ramp. There are several reasons for this. People who don't have a fucking clue about merging is number one on the list. If you are in a right-hand lane, you will have to contend with these morons at every on-ramp. Not me... I stay as far the fuck away from them as is humanly possible. Normally in the extreme left-hand lane...

2. What is a passing lane and what is it for...?

Most multi-laned (3) highways are divided into three distinctly different camps. The right-hand lane I refer to as the 'curb-hugger' lane. This is for those who want to bimble along at a speed which is under the speed limit. These drivers are normally apologetic for even being in a car and realize that they are far outmatched by just about anyone else on the road. They are the speed bumps on the road. They are obstacles who are best bypassed and are ideal fodder to deal with the 'merging-challenged road hazards' that occasionally stumble blindly into their paths, causing them to either nail the brakes or careen wildly in an effort to avoid them.

The middle lane is for those who have somewhat of an idea of where they're going, but are in no particular hurry to get there. They normally clip along at 100 to 110kmh. They provide a decent buffer between myself and the 'curb huggers'. I have no real qualms about travelling in this lane but normally prefer the outside lane. As far left as I can get. The vehicles travelling in this lane definitely know where they are going and consider time a factor. Here's a word to the wise: If you are not doing AT LEAST 120kmh... stay the fuck out of this lane!!!!!!!! There is no earthly reason for you to be there. Like the middle lane, it is A PASSING LANE!!! You enter it to pass other vehicles, not simply to enjoy a different view of the traffic around you. If you are in a lane in which you are not passing vehicles that are to your right, you had better move to a slower lane. Unless you are already in the 'curb hugger' lane. Failure to get the Hell out of the way of people who actually have a clue as to where they're going, renders you an obstacle, a danger to the orderly flow of traffic.

3. Drivers with cell phones...

I'm not going to waste too much time on this one, because I think the disdain for these clowns is just about universal. This class of assholes should be dealt with in the following fashion: The vehicle is pulled over. The driver is escorted around to the rear of the vehicle, so that oncoming traffic can see what is occurring. He is made to kneel and face traffic and the attending officer dispatches him with a bullet to the back of the head. Problem solved. Moving on... If you were actually texting on your phone? You get a bullet in each kneecap first, before then being dispatched.

Like many folks out there, I could go on for quite a spell about driving habits that drive me 'round the bend. Probably the worst habit out there however, (asides from driving outside your capabilities...) is simple driver inattention. Whether driving slow, at a reasonable rate or fast, it is driver inattention that will kill you (and others...) every time. People who drive with their head up their ass, far more intent on eating, dialling a phone, applying makeup, than they are on actually driving the vehicle.

If you were ever to look up the number of Single Vehicle Accidents in your area, you would be appalled. If it were possible to know how many accidents in total were due to 'driver inattention', odds are people would be even more surprised. It's a scary world out there. I know many people think that motorcycles are dangerous. That of course, is a load of crap. Motorcycles are not dangerous, the very same as firearms are not dangerous. It is other drivers who are dangerous, just as it is uneducated people with firearms that are dangerous. There is less protection on a motorcycle, yes. But with that in mind, when you ride a bike you tend to be more cautious. You tend to be more aware. You realize that you do not have the luxury of daydreaming while you're sailing down the road. You also tend to ride a lot more on secondary roads. Highways have no appeal. Give me the long way, anyday... It's not about getting anywhere in particular, it's the journey itself... The sights, the sounds, the little roads that go who knows where...

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

On George S. Patton...

Over his military career, it must be said that General George S. Patton was not only an exemplary warrior, but also a leader and a brilliant military tactician. He held the utmost respect and admiration for the men he led and was a great source of inspiration for the men of the 3rd US Army. He definitely had his own views and opinions and was not the least bit shy in expressing these, at times to the great displeasure of his superiors and/or political masters. He foresaw the rift between the Allies and the Soviet Union well before anyone else and was keen to roll on Moscow, had Eisenhower let him. He has been accredited with many stirring and irreverent quotations. These are a few of my favorites:

"A good plan, violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan next week."

“A pint of sweat will save a gallon of blood.”

“By perseverance, study, and eternal desire, any man can become great.”

“Do everything you ask of those you command.”

“Do more than is required of you.”

“Fixed fortifications are monuments to man's stupidity.”

“Good tactics can save even the worst strategy. Bad tactics will destroy even the best strategy.”

“I always believe in being prepared, even when I'm dressed in white tie and tails.”

“I am a soldier, I fight where I am told, and I win where I fight.”

“If everybody is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking.”

“If I do my full duty, the rest will take care of itself.”

“In case of doubt, attack.”

“It’s the unconquerable soul of man, not the nature of the weapon he uses, that insures victory.”

“Lead me, follow me, or get out of my way. ”

“Live for something rather than die for nothing.”

"May God have mercy upon my enemies, because I won't.”

“Moral courage is the most valuable and usually the most absent characteristic in men.”

“Never let the enemy pick the battle site.”

“No good decision was ever made in a swivel chair.”

“Say what you mean and mean what you say.”

“Success is how you bounce on the bottom.”

“The leader must be an actor."

“The soldier is the army.”

“There is only one type of discipline, perfect discipline.”

“War is simple, direct, and ruthless.”

“Wars may be fought with weapons, but they are won by men.”

“You’re never beaten until you admit it.”

“You shouldn't underestimate an enemy, but it is just as fatal to overestimate him.”

"Attack rapidly, ruthlessly, viciously, without rest, however tired and hungry you may be, the enemy will be more tired, more hungry. Keep punching."

"In landing operations, retreat is impossible, to surrender is as ignoble as it is foolish… above all else remember that we as attackers have the initiative, we know exactly what we are going to do, while the enemy is ignorant of our intentions and can only parry our blows. We must retain this tremendous advantage by always attacking rapidly, ruthlessly, viciously, and without rest."

"An Army is a team; lives, sleeps, eats, fights as a team. This individual heroic stuff is a lot of crap."

"War is the supreme test of man in which he rises to heights never approached in any other activity."

"No sane man is unafraid in battle, but discipline produces in him a form of vicarious courage."

"A man must know his destiny… if he does not recognize it, then he is lost. By this I mean, once, twice, or at the very most, three times, fate will reach out and tap a man on the shoulder… if he has the imagination, he will turn around and fate will point out to him what fork in the road he should take, if he has the guts, he will take it."

"In war the only sure defense is offense, and the efficiency of the offense depends on the warlike souls of those conducting it."

"Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity."

"Wars might be fought with weapons, but they are won by men. It is the spirit of the men who lead that gains the victory."

"… many, who should know better, think that wars can be decided by soulless machines, rather than by the blood and anguish of brave men."

"An incessant change of means to attain unalterable ends is always going on; we must take care not to let these sundry means undue eminence in the perspective of our minds; for, since the beginning, there has been an unending cycle of them, and for each its advocates have claimed adoption as the sole solution of successful war."

"Untutored courage is useless in the face of educated bullets."

"The obvious thing for the cavalryman to do is to accept the fighting machine as a partner, and prepare to meet more fully the demands of future warfare."

"Many soldiers are led to faulty ideas of war by knowing too much about too little."

"The difficulty in understanding the Russian is that we do not take cognizance of the fact that he is not a European, but an Asiatic, and therefore thinks deviously. We can no more understand a Russian than a Chinese or a Japanese, and from what I have seen of them, I have no particular desire to understand them except to ascertain how much lead or iron it takes to kill them. In addition to his other amiable characteristics, the Russian has no regard for human life and they are all out sons-of-bitches, barbarians, and chronic drunks."

“No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb son-of-a-bitch die for his country.”

Monday, February 25, 2008

On Murphy's Military Law...

1. Never share a foxhole with anyone braver than you are.

2. No battle plan ever survives initial contact with the enemy.

3. Friendly fire... isn't.

4. The most dangerous thing in the combat zone is an officer with a map.

5. The problem with taking the easy way out is that the enemy has already mined it .

6. Teamwork is essential to your survival; it gives the enemy somebody else to shoot at.

7. The further you are in advance of your own positions, the more likely your artillery will shoot short.

8. Incoming fire has the right of way.

9. If your advance is going well, you are walking into an ambush.

10. The quartermaster has only two sizes, too large and too small.

11. If you really need an officer in a hurry, take a nap.

12. The only time suppressive fire works is when it is used on abandoned positions.

13. The only thing more accurate than incoming enemy fire is incoming friendly fire.

14. There is nothing more satisfying that having someone take a shot at you, and miss.

15. If your sergeant can see you, so can the enemy.

16. Any ship can be a minesweeper... once.

17. Never draw fire. It irritates everyone around you.

18. Try to look unimportant. The enemy may be low on ammo.

19. Don't look conspicuous. It draws fire.

20. Recoilless rifles... aren't.

21. Neutral countries... aren't.

22. A sucking chest wound is nature's way of telling you to slow down.

23. The enemy diversion you are ignoring is the main attack.

25. No combat ready unit ever passed inspection.

26. No inspection ready unit ever passed combat.

27. If you're short of everything but the enemy, you're in a combat zone.

28. When in doubt, empty your magazine.

29. Tracers work both ways.

30. All five second fuses are three seconds.

31. If you can't remember... the claymore is pointed towards you.

32. The Cavalry doesn't always come to the rescue.

33. Communications will fail as soon as you desperately need fire support.

34. In war, important things are simple and simple things are very hard.

35. If it's stupid and it works... it ain't stupid!

36. The easy way is always mined.

37. If the enemy is within range, so are you.

38. B-52s are the ultimate in close air support.

39. Carpet bombs are very, very accurate weapons. They all hit the ground.

40. Professionals are predictable, but the world is full of dangerous amateurs.

41. Peace is our profession. Mass murder is just a hobby.

42. Mines are an equal opportunity weapon.

43. Smart bombs have bad days too.

44. Remember that napalm is an area weapon.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

A reprise on customer service...

I will always remember with fondness and appreciation, the years that I spent working at Powertrend Cycles in Dartmouth, NS. I was employed as a mechanic and occasionally doubled as a parts person as well. My boss was Garnet Hill, who is arguably in my humble estimation, one of the very best wrenches in the Maritime provinces. His intrapersonal skills were never truly developed, which is why I was normally singled out by him to be the company rep for the media and TV folks. Between our shop and being area rep for the Nova Scotia Ride For Sight, I was actually somewhat of a minor local celebrity. He reinforced what I had learned through my formal training at the American Motorcycle Institute (AMI) in Daytona Beach, FL. He mentored me in the trade and showed me what customer service was about in our business.

You have to understand that those who work in an aftermarket motorcycle shop, have a vastly different view of their customers than dealerships do. Dealerships regard their customers simply as walking wallets. I used to believe this was a condition particular to Harley-Davidson dealerships, but have since learned to my chagrin, that it applies to any brand out there. We were of course, an aftermarket shop. We built high-dollar custom motorcycles from the frame up for customers, long before any of these 'reality bike-builder shows' were ever in existence. We obviously also did repairs, maintenance and customizing work for fellow riders, regardless of what brand they rode. True, we did specialize in Harleys, but as any good shop would, we worked on anything with two wheels.

The care and attention involved in crafting a custom motorcycle for a customer, can best be compared to walking into a fine tailor shop and having a suit custom-made for you. It begins with choosing the frame itself. Everything revolves around the end use of the bike itself. What type of riding will the customer be doing? Is this simply going to be a bare-bones bar-hopper, meant only for wowing the patrons of the local watering holes? Is this going to be a distance bike, made for either solo or two-up long range touring? Is it going to be a daily ride? A commuter? How tall is the rider? Is he "vertically challenged" or is he a long streak of misery? You wouldn't allow a customer to choose a standard frame if you knew he was going to end up riding with his knees under his chin. You'd want a frame with a little amount of stretch to it. You could add to that by installing forward controls, which would allow a taller rider to stretch out in comfort while on the road.

The rake of the frame's neck is equally important, as is the selection of forks employed. The shorter the rake, the quicker the steering response. This is particularily useful with heavier bikes and coping with the demands of in-town riding. A longer rake will kick out the front wheel, allowing the bike to track solidly on the open road. The secret is to strike the perfect balance. To give the bike the handling characteristics he wants, while retaining to look and attitude he wants the bike to convey. We would help him choose the powerplant, stock or custom built, the tranny, the wheels, the tires, the brake system, the brake lines, the oil lines, the fuel lines, the exhaust, the carb, the air cleaner, the oil pump, the starter, the voltage regulator, the bars, the controls, the mirrors, the tank, the fenders, the swingarm, the lights, the pegs, the grips, the side covers, the seat. We would even consult him on which stator he would require, based on it's output and what type of accessories he wanted to run on the bike (lights, heated riding apparel, GPS, radio, intercom...).

The frame is sprung by the forks and shocks. These will greatly influence not only the ride comfort, but the handling of the bike as well. Stock fork springs are okay for some applications, but we never used them. We always opted for premium materials. Why? Our reputation went out the door with every single bike we built or worked on. That is perhaps the largest and most singular difference between dealerships and "bike shops".

A good motorcycle shop's reputation is everything. Their business, their livelihood, their very existence depends on the quality and competency of service that they offer. The reputation a shop developes will dictate whether they flourish or die. Shops operate on word of mouth advertising. Our shop routinely had riders appear on our doorstep, from all over the continental United States and Europe, based simply on the verbal recommendation of another rider.

They kept coming back because we offered true, actual customer service which was unparalelled. I washed every bike I ever worked on. Both before and after. I remember one Saturday where I stayed 5 hours after closing, replacing the rear drive belt on a bagger that had been pushed uphill by some patchholder from PEI. I did so because the Harley dealership down the hill had closed their door in his face at precisely 1:00p.m. I did so because you never leave a fellow rider twisting in the wind, when he breaks down miles and miles away from home. I made sure that he was safely on his way before I ever thought of going home. Did I have to? Hell, no... our service department wasn't even open that day. We never were on Saturdays. But in the name of providing service when service was needed? I really didn't have a choice, now did I?

I once paid hard cash out of my own pocket to replace a customer's front wheel, because I nicked the chrome while changing out the front tire. My mistake, my responsibility... That's how we worked. We were accountable to our clients. I routinely allowed customers to watch me work on their rides. It was understood that they could ask me anything they wanted. It was also understood that if I had to stop to answer them, the clock didn't. They were always fine with this. I would go so far as explaining what I was doing and why I was doing it. It developed a bond between myself and our clients. I wanted them to see the care, the expertise that was given to their bikes when they entrusted us with them.

They were giving us their pride and joy to work on, confident that it would be returned to them in far better condition than when they left it. We always ensured that their trust was well placed. Yes, they were customers, but they were also fellow riders who eventually became fast friends. That is the industry I worked in and that is the benchmark I use, when I open my mouth and sound off on customer service. I do so not simply from the viewpoint of a disgruntled customer, but from the viewpoint of someone who also worked the other side of the counter and actually has some idea of what real customer service is all about.

On Atlantic Canada...

All in all, I was very fortunate to have spent 25 years of my life in Nova Scotia. I moved out there from Lasalle, a suburb of Montreal, in March of 1976, right after finishing my basic training course at CFB St.Jean, QC. I moved as a political refugee from the Province of Quebec, shortly pursuant to the passing of Bill 101. I wanted my children to grow up in a democracy and I wanted above all, to serve my country. That was the whole line of reasoning behind joining the military. I remembered from my school years the precedents in our world history, where languages were outlawed and government officials showed up at your door, telling you what language you were to have your children educated in, or your signs posted in... I believe it was Germany and the year was 1937-ish.

Although my heart will forever reside somewhere along the shores of South-West Nova, living in Nova Scotia allowed me the opportunity to tour New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and of course, The Rock as well. For you mainlanders who might be reading this, for those of you who have never known the gift of having your early morning coffee by a seashore, your nostrils filled with the smell of sea and salt, as you watch a Cape Islander slowly make it's way out of the harbour... it is impossible to put into suitable prose the comfort, the satisfaction that such moments can bring to one's soul. Nova Scotia is one of those rare spots on the earth, where a total stranger can gaze at the ocean and sense that he belongs. Perhaps it's true what they say. That we all come from the sea and cannot help but feel at home whenever we are in it's presence.

You can have your big cities. Or as the "Song for the Myra" goes: "I'll trade you ten of your cities, for Marion Bridge and the pleasures it brings...". I have visited most of those international, cosmopolitan cities that the young and trendy would kill to see, or be seen in. They leave me cold and indifferent. Many people claim that they love the energy that a large city brings. I don't believe this. I think rather that many people need the noise, the din, the distractions of the city, to drown out what is going on inside them. It keeps them from having to confront and actually deal with themselves.

Give me the peace and solace that a stretch of shoreline or an oceanside bluff can provide. Let my thoughts drift and wheel with the gulls and the waves. I have no qualms about enjoying my own company. I am at peace with myself. I need no distractions, no trappings or frills, to enjoy this world around me. Whether in l'Acadie, down in the Annapolis Valley, in Lunenburg or Mahone Bay, near la Baie des Chaleurs or standing at the very tip of Cape Spear on The Rock, wherever the sea meets the sky, that is where I will always long to be.

On winter...

I came into work this morning and it was as we used to say in the Navy: "Colder than the heart of a Belgian whore!" Winter in Canada and it's associated weather, is always a great source of conversation, as well as new and creative epithets to describe it. I have observed over the years that for the most part, we as Canadians have a love/hate relationship with winter. We delight in bitching about the cold, the snow and all the inconveniences associated with it. Let a non-Canadian enter the room and we'll soon be deluging him with stories and factoids of how winter makes us Canadians the hardy breed we are. It's pretty funny when you think of it.

There is something warming though, about wandering into a Tim Horton's when the air outside is so cold, it feels like a physical insult to your body and lungs. You order your double-double while nodding pleasantly to others in line, acknowledging one another for being out and braving the cold. It's never long before someone will comment on the weather and before you know it, you're engaged in conversation with folks you've never met. The weather can be a great excuse for meeting new people.

I can remember some years ago when I was still in Nova Scotia, going fishing on the first day of spring with my best friend Spider. It was snowing and blowing a gale, but it was our tradition to go toss a line into Graham's Grove on the first day of spring. Needless to say, we didn't get a bite. We soon packed it in and went for a coffee down to Timmie's on Ochterloney Street. As we walked in and stood in line waiting to be served, one of the locals came in and announced: "Well Lord wouldn't believe the sight I just saw... These two fools were after fishin' out in Graham's Grove, just standin' there in the middle of a Jeezus storm... I jus' 'ad to shook me 'ead!"

Before I could say anything, Spider raised his hand and announced with some degree of pride: "Uh... That would have been us!"

I miss those days...

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

An idiotic question...

It never ceases to amuse me how some people cannot shake this habit of blurting out questions that come to mind, without taking even a second of their time to analyze them. This practise is what engenders entries like this, and is where the vast majority of truly idiotic questions stem from.

So I have this caller from Quebec yesterday who quite sincerely was looking for information on recreational fishing in the State of Florida. He was kind enough to state that he didn't want any information on freshwater fishing (like lunker fishing in Lake Okeechobee or the St.John River, both world reknown for trophy sized largemouth bass...), but on recreational fishing in the ocean (like maybe bonefish or tarpon on the flats...). So he pops this question on me, in that supremely arrogant tone that only Quebeckers can muster when addressing someone they perceive as representing the federal government, because they figure they have the country over a barrel with this separatist bullshit, and then waits for me to actually deliver on this type of information.

Bear in mind for one moment that we provide information from a couple of Canadian federal government entities, none of which might be construed as either the Department of Tourism for the State of Florida OR the Florida Department of Fish and Game. We're here in Canada, fer chrissakes!

So part of our protocol here, is to 'paraphrase' the caller's request. You know, just to make sure that we are both on the same page, when it comes to the information the caller actually wants. So I paraphrase (in French, of course...): "So if I understand, you have called the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, a section of the Canadian federal government, for information on what the recreational fishing regulations might be in the coastal waters off the State of Florida, which is part of the United States of America, a completely foreign, separate and different country...???"

There is this roaring silence on the other end of the line. You can almost hear the little cog wheels in this man's brain, whirring around frantically as they struggle to cope with the enormous stupidity their mouth has just unleashed.

But wait... true to form, he is unwilling to, cannot possibly admit that he could have been so utterly misguided... He asks hopefully: "But surely, where you people deal with the Oceans and everything, you must have an idea...???" I reply in no uncertain terms, that our section of the Canadian government would have absolutey no information on this topic whatsoever. Again, awkward silence...

Finally, to end the misery, I suggest that this person might want to contact either the Florida Tourism folks or the State Department of Fish and Game for this type of Florida-only information. I was about to suggest that while we were at it, we also didn't have any information on monkey hunting regulations in Botswana, or info on how many pigs you were allowed to employ, to aid you in finding truffles in Provence or Perigord, France, but I held my tongue. Kudos to me. The temptation of verbally skewering a man who is already prostrate in the agony of embarassment was very strong, but I chose to tread the higher path...

He himself in what seemed like a fit of rage, added the appropriate closing statement: "Yes...that's right! Us Quebeckers are a bunch of know-nothings!!" I mused quietly to myself as the line clicked dead, how living in a cultural vacuum, to say nothing of a cultural ghetto, will do that to you...

Then it dawned on me... I had just witnessed someone who had actually been incensed by a statement he himself had made. He had actually been insulted by his own stupidity. Who knows...? Maybe this would prove a starting point for him...

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

On diplomacy...

"Diplomacy is the art of saying: 'Nice doggie...', while searching for a rock". - Will Rogers.

Monday, February 4, 2008

On radical Islam... and the first strike.

There is only one fire that will burn bright enough and hot enough to eradicate, to excoriate the scourge of Islamo-facism from the face of the planet... and that is the fire of a thermo-nuclear conflagration.

With developing events in Iran and the deepening security crisis in Pakistan, it is only a matter of time before long range, nuclear weapons fall into the hands of religious extremists. If the people of these two countries (not their governments, for they have proven to be worthless...) do not step up to eradicate these extremists from their midst and take control of their own destiny, then they become accomplices. They can no longer pretend to wear the mantle of innocence. By providing aid to these extremists, by hiding them, by giving in to their threats, by turning a blind eye to their actions, by refusing to take them on, they become as they are. If it breaks down to a case of "us or them", it's really a no-brainer. Their kind is as a rabid dog. There is no negotiating, no common ground to be reached, no civil discourse to be had. There is but one cure for rabies in dogs. The West must not flich or hesitate, if it comes to a pre-emptive nuclear strike. The survival or North America depends on it.

"To Serve and Protect"?...

No, I'm not going to sit here and trash any police department. I'm sure we can all agree that there are some that are better than others. You also have to realize that they are largely manacled by the very laws they are sworn to uphold. The laws that are handed down by the various judiciaries of this land. Many police departments have adopted the motto: to serve and protect. The serving part I guess I can agree with. I'm not so sure about the 'protect' part though.

Ask any police officer out there on the streets if they are responsible for your personal safety. For your personal protection. Or the safety of your wife, your children, your home. Unless they're lying through their teeth, they will be the first to tell you that no, they are not! They can't possibly be. The defense and the protection of yourself, your loved ones, your home and possessions... that's all up to you. The police are not there to protect anyone. They are simply there to pick up the pieces after shit happens. They are there to try to figure out who to blame. Who to arrest and charge for having committed the crime. They are not there to prevent the crime from happening in the first place. That's YOUR job. Don't ever forget this or make the mistake of believing otherwise. Whether you're a man or a woman...

Just think back for a couple of moments. How many horror stories have you heard or read about in the news, or seen on television, where an individual had a restraining order on him and a history of violent behaviour. In every instance, even though the courts and the police knew full well this person intended to harm (or actually kill...) their ex-spouse or girlfriend, they could do absolutely nothing until that individual carried out his plan. This is something that in a civilized society, has to change.

Home invasions have never been so popular. Experts are quick to point out that the drug culture is likely to blame for this. How many home invasions have ever been prevented or stopped by local police officers? That's right. Zero! So now we've got people of every age group, looking to burglarize your home so they can feed their habit. These folks are either high or strung out as they commit their crimes. Either way, there's no discussing with them when you find them rifling through your belongings. My premise? Human rights only apply to those in our society that play the game by the rules! You don't get accorded human rights just by breathing and walking upright.

If any individual should enter my home, with the intent of committing a crime, he or she has just forfeited whatever rights they might have had. I am the law in my home. This is my domain. My right to protect myself and exact retribution on those who would deliberately threaten my existence, is sacrosanct. It is not a right that is granted by any man-made court or system. Or even by some imaginary deity. It is my inalienable right as a living creature. It is more than a right, it is an obligation. It is the very basis by which we live or die. It is in fact the law of Natural Selection. If I cannot or will not defend myself and mine, then we don't get to survive. It's as simple as that. I have given up my right to exist. So my self-defense is not a responsibility which I am willing, or should even consider foisting off on someone else. I'm sure you've already heard various phrases which might reflect this type of mindset. One of my favorites is: "I'd rather be judged by twelve, than carried by six". There is not a court in the land that could rightfully convict someone who exercised his right to survival. Like the window decal says: "If you're found here tonight, you'll be found here tomorrow!"

I'm not one who likes to create drama where there is none. I'm not out to scare anyone or claim there's a non-existent boogey-man around every corner and under every bed. But again, my thoughts and beliefs are based on nothing but reality. You are responsible for your own safety. Now more than ever before. If you can't or won't defend yourself, nobody else will. I personally believe in being armed. I believe in knowing how to handle a weapon proficiently, as well as when to use it. I believe in being willing and able to defend onesself. I believe in the old proverb of "an eye for an eye". Does this make me a danger to society in general? Absolutely not. Does it make me a danger to those who would invade my space? Damn straight! There are only three camps here. There are the criminals, the victims and the non-victims. I choose to be a non-victim. Not an avenging angel or a harbinger of doom to those who constitute the very dregs of our society, but simply a non-victim.

I occasionally hear people fall back on the trite old line of: "C'mon, man... Where do you think we live? Back in the Wild West?" No... we don't live back in the days of the 'Wild West'. They never had, or ever experienced, the type of social disorder or rampant crime that we have here in North America today. They never did because they would never have tolerated it. In those days, they actually had law and order. It wasn't just a fictional TV show back then. It was real life. I believe what the judicial system in the State of Texas believes. It has been said that one exonerating excuse for what might seem murder is that the target (”victim” conveys an erroneous connotation), "needed killing". To put it in other terms, there certainly is such a thing as justifiable homicide. Ours however are the days where the criminals have more rights and enjoy better protection than any of their victims ever did. Now it's all about how they were scarred by a bad upbringing, they weren't held enough, they were abandoned, their parents fought or drank, or some other bullshit that's meant to absolve them of any responsibility for that family of six they recently butchered. Ours are the days where the innocent must wait to be preyed upon yet again, before their judicial system will do anything to aid them... normally a case of too little and way too late.

Well I renounce such a world. I renounce such a farcical judicial system that exercises a revolving door policy towards repeat offenders and which releases dangerous and unrepentent criminals upon an unsuspecting and woefully ill-prepared public. I think it's high time that we stopped treating bona fide victims as expendable people, and perhaps start viewing criminals as expendable members of society. There are too many criminals and not enough prisons, they tell us. So let us decide... What is the problem, really? Is it that there are not enough prisons? Or is it that there are too many criminals? What is the fix? Which solution would best serve the interests and well-being of the Canadian public? Which one would do the most in curtailing reoffenders, in providing a guarantee of the public's safety, in expediting justice?

Will building more prisons really address any of these concerns? No, I didn't think so. Nor is it economically feasible. There was a reason why this country at one time was a proponent of capital punishment. Many will say that capital punishment was never proven as a deterrent for crime. I say to you, that deterrence was never the intent. It was there to punish. To exact the highest form of retribution for crimes deemed particularily heinous. Not to deter. Do you think our liberal courts system offers any type of a deterrent for crime? Shake your head if you do. If anything, it promotes crime and lawlessness. I know too that there are those who claim to live with this supposed horror, that our judicial system would end up convicting and executing an innocent man. Hey... Talk to the courts. Convictions for such crimes are normally based on some pretty credible evidence nowadays. It's not just based on hearsay. So how about a little of that compassion for innocent lives lost, when a career dirtbag is let back out in the community to kill again. Where is that 'sense of horror over the loss of an innocent life' then? That's right... it's not there, is it? They're just the victims and once they're dead, who gives a rat's ass anyway, right?

Too many criminals, you say? Well let's start weeding them out. Let's start taking this gargantuan burden off the backs of the law abiding masses. Let's start re-enforcing an actual, honest to God criminal code. One where crimes are recognized as such and punishment is meted out accordingly. I say bring back capital punishment. The horrors and the frequency of crimes committed in this country today, have known no precedent in our history. It must be time we started doing something about it. And yes, 'rehabilitation' has it's place within the system, to some extent. But it doesn't take a rocket scientist or a psychologist to recognize someone who wants to be rehabilitated and one who could care less.

Here's yet another point for you. There have been some in the past who were of the opinion that a person should get the death penalty, if he murdered a police officer. Let's think of that for just a moment. A police officer. Someone who is armed, who is trained in physical combat as well as the use of deadly force. Who is permitted to travel about in our society, armed and able to defend himself at a moment's notice. I for one, have issues with this on several levels. First of all, I do not enjoy being held up as 'disposable', as compared to a peace officer.

Secondly, this individual is armed. At all times. He or she is also normally in the company (or should be if they have any operational sense...) of other armed officers, as they go about the performance of their daily duties. For us poor, slovenly, 'expendable' civilians, unless we have taken the precaution of arming ourselves at home, we are pretty much at the mercy of these thugs. They say that our men and women in uniform put their lives on the line everyday they go to work. Well I'm here to tell you that the vast majority of Canadians inhabiting large urban centres do the same thing and without the benefit of any weaponry. Or body armour, for that matter...

Murder is murder. It is even more heinous when committed against a victim that has no way of defending themself. And deliberately killing a child has to be the very worse transgression a person can commit. So please... don't come off telling me that a police officer's life is worth more than mine, or my wife's, or my children's. That's just unadulterated bullshit! Intentional murder of another person, regardless of what line of work they are in, should be punishable by death. Period! There's your deterrence factor! I should also mention that I don't buy into this 'crime of passion' bullshit either. That follows the same mentality as absolving someone for murder because they were drunk or stoned at the time, and therefore "didn't know what they were doing". I'm sure that is a great comfort to the grieving family. It was their initial decision to drink or use in the first place. That very fact alone makes them 100% accountable and responsible for any event that took place thereafter. And don't even get me started on the phony, so-called 'War on Drugs'. If this was ever a real war on drugs, the enemy KIA list should be a Hell of a lot longer than what it is.

But this of course, is only one man's opinion... and on a closing note, anyone who sees crime occuring around them and chooses to remain uninvolved, then you have absolutely no right to complain about anything. There are far too many people who prefer "not to get involved". This of course gives a green light to criminals everywhere. If you are not part of the solution, you are in fact part of the problem. You become a silent accomplice, but one who is as guilty of aiding and abetting a criminal as the one who actually assists him in the commission of a crime or in the subsequent covering up.

On Canadian Citizenship...

What, pray tell is the purpose of administering a citizenship test, to those who would become Canadians? It should be the proof that they have over time, learned about our political system, their government, municipal, provincial and federal. It means they should have begun their assimilation into our way of life. That they should have become curious and taken the time to learn all these aspects of life here in Canada, by reading, observing, listening, finding out on their own. Left to their own devices, using internet, newspapers, television and other media outlets or their own public library, it is not an endeavor which would take them all that long.

That's what comes to my mind, when I think about a citizenship test. But is that actually what happens here in Canada? Do our recently arrived permanent residents take the time and care to actually learn about this, their new country? Hell, no they don't! Our government has decided to create a fast track towards Canadian citizenship. To make it incredibly easy for these people. All they have to do is phone Service Canada's 1 800 O Canada line and one of the very obliging Information Officers at the other end, will provide all the required answers to the Canadian Citizenship exam, as they are required to do by the mandate of their job.

They will provide them with information on:

-The Governor General,
-The Prime Minister and the Party in power,
-Their provincial Lieutenant Governor,
-All the federal opposition parties and their leaders,
-Their provincial Premier and the Provincial Party in power,
-The provincial opposition party,
-Their MP and their electoral district; and
-A referral to their province for info on their MPP.

So as you can see, there need be no effort put forth by anyone seeking to become a Canadian Citizen. Ask me if I think this is right? Ask me if I think this is fair? Ask me if I think this is an insult to all those who immigrated here in the past and have become true Canadians like you and I?
This is just one more reason why I believe that these documents have been cheapened, devalued, made a mockery of. They are not worth the paper they are written on. We are selling out our country and giving away our birthright, in many cases not even to immigrants, but to invaders... Have you any idea of the percentage of applicants for residency here in Canada, that are not properly screened/checked?
It is this type of foolishness which leads to stories of a Canadian citizen being found guilty of supporting terrorists and not being able to deport same because "he's one of us"!!??!?!? That's another thing... Who the Hell says you can't revoke someone's citizenship!!! Obviously you can't if they're born here, but if they turn out to be a blight on our society? If you entered here fraudulently? If your religion happens to call for the death of real Canadians? If they hold none of our values and/or beliefs as their own? That's right... It's time for you to fucking leave.

A word to the wise... I for one intend to take this up with my MP.