Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Road Trip: Memphis

I've well and truly had enough of this dead, damned broke Northern rust bucket. The bottom fell out years ago, the water's gone and all the government does is steal my money then piss on me and tell me the drought is over. Screw 'em.

I'm headed South with my brother California Dave, and we're going to drop in on Big Mike, raise a little civilized hell and keep on heading South until we find Shotgun Bob.

Likely I'll be back just as soon as I've had my fill of ribs, blues and booze.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Ottawa Hills Police Shooting: Sentencing

I haven't written much lately, mainly because I've been busy and haven't felt like it. This morning I decided to revisit a blog I stumbled across a month or so ago, Big Dick's Place. This is not for readers who are faint of heart, thin skinned or have delicate moonbat sensibilities. Of course, if you're spoiling for a flame war that begins with vitriolic cursing and creative name calling of the caliber that would bring an average SB user to a full stop, or if you're interested in reading mainstream conservative opinions backed by steroid rage and augmented with a little crystal methamphetamine, by all means go over to Big Dick's Place and read his take on Saudi justice: The Saudis Do Some Things Right

The gist of the Saudi legal system is for the judge to decide, one way or another, just who deserves to be punished and how. To that end the old adage of eye for an eye is seeing a decided comeback as evidenced by this article from AP via the Star Tribune, Saudi judge asks hospital if it can damage convict's spine as punishment for paralyzing man. I was immediately reminded of the case of Michael McCloskey who was shot in the back and paralyzed from the waist down by Ottawa Hills police officer Thomas White, who was found guilty of felonious assault with a firearm specification (story here) and who is now out on bail pending appeal (click here). The obvious disparity in the treatment of a police officer in comparison to a mere civilian turns my stomach; any other person would be sitting in jail awaiting the appeal, but officer White gets to run around free as a bird. While I believe the sentence is too light, I am reminded that sentencing maximums were set by people who were not angry over a case like this one, which is the way it should be. However, I think I'll speculate a little.

What I wonder is this. I wonder if Mike McCloskey would be willing to let Officer White go free with his record completely expunged and serve White's ten year prison sentence without parole if Mr. McCloskey could regain the full use of his legs at the end of that time. I kind of think Mike would take the deal. I know I would, if I were Mike.

I suppose if there were anything close to real justice here, White would be given a choice of ten years in prison or being voluntarily paralyzed for life from the waist down. I'll bet White would report for prison the same day he declined to be paralyzed. Real justice, in my opinion, would be to paralyze White and send him to prison for twenty-five to life. I wonder if we could find a doctor to perform the operation. I wonder why there's never a problem finding volunteers for a firing squad.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

A Day at the Range: Saturday, August 15, 2010

There are few nicer ways to spend a Saturday than to go shooting with your family, and so when my brother Big Mike suggested a day at the range early last week I offered my own enthusiastic support for the project. I think "Hell yes!" covers it.

Breakfast of Champions
Anyone who has met me in person knows I don't miss many meals (I'm working on that) and breakfast is no exception. Main Lady was nice enough to fix me breakfast this morning; a spinach and goat cheese omelet topped with a mild salsa, toast, grapes and strong coffee. Excellent Rachmaninoff was hoping I'd share, but sadly he was out of luck.

Excellent Rachmaninoff
Then we were off to the Bullet Stop shooting range. As usual, Mike drove. The more I ride in Mike's Chrysler 300, the more I'd like to own one.

Round One
We started out with .22 auto-loaders. Mike shot his Browning Buckmark while I chose to run a few boxes through my Beretta Model 101. I like shooting .22 - you won't get deafened, the recoil doesn't beat you to death and you can shoot all day for $10. I wish I had a few extra clips for the Beretta.

A few more shooters showed up, and because several lanes were closed for repairs Mike and I ended up sharing a lane, which is fine since one man can load his magazine while the other is killing the paper. Here's our target after a few rounds.

Note the bottom right international orange bull's eye. The Bullet Stop has one small air conditioner which sounds as if it's on it's last legs. The temperature outside was about 90 degrees, with the humidity at 95 percent. Inside the humidity rose to about 120 with the temperature right on its heels. The real problem is that the range is really one building within another, the 'other' being a large, old barn. Rather than A/C that doesn't really work, the place needs a fan that will move a large volume of air very slowly. This would keep my eye protection from fogging up and causing results like those on the bottom right target.

One way or another, Mike and I fell into the Visine game: get rid of the red. I think Mike started it. I ended up trimming the final few bits of red out of the target, thus putting the old coup de grâce on the center target. The finished product has more holes in it than a politician's promise.

PC Target
Mike also shot his .380 and I gave my S&W 9mm some exercise, but by that time I was getting severely overheated and couldn't hit much of anything. Mike did very well with his .380 auto, with is odd because Mike can't shoot it's Mike's 'sock drawer' gun. The sights are small and fixed and the pistol has a short barrel. Mike isn't the only one to have some success with his .380. When Flopsy (Main Lady's oldest little darling) came out shooting with us, she was putting all her shots on target at 50 feet with Mike's .380.

In need of sustenance and replenishment of essential fluids, we repaired to the Maumee Bay Brew Pub where such things as beer could be had, along with fine food.

Amarillo Brillo

I won't say Amarillo Brillo is the only beer worth drinking at the Brew Pub, because clearly that isn't true. Nor is it my absolute favorite beer, however if you're thirsty and can't decide which beer will satisfy, you can't go wrong with Amarillo Brillo. 

Pretzel Appetizer
There's a large wood fired oven in back where they roast (toast? bake?) the pretzels, which are then served warm with a hot mustard and a cheese sauce. Excellent!

French Dip
I had a cup of the cheddar cheese beer soup and the excellent roast beef sandwich. Bon appétit!


Thus concludes an excellent day at the range. This is the way a Saturday should be spent.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Book Review

Beginning CSS Web Development From Novice to Professional
by Simon Collison
Non-fiction, 413 pgs., $34.99 USD, Copyright 2006 by Simon Collison
ISBN-13 (pbk):978-1-59059-689-0
ISBN-10 (pbk):1-59059-689-7
Published by Apress; 2560 Ninth Street, Suite 219, Berkeley, CA 94710
Key words: Cascading Style Sheets, CSS, Extended Hypertext Markup Language, XHTML, Web Design, Dry British Humor, Drinking

Beginning CSS Web Development
Well, I've finished it. No, not the bottle you twit – the book. I am now so full of CSS I can hardly stand myself. I can't honestly say that I read all four hundred and thirteen pages; the index is rather dry, even for a Brit. Still, I managed to begin on page one and plowed right on through to page 369. Along the way I learned considerably more about XHTML and web design than I thought I would. Getting right to the point, this is an excellent work. I would enthusiastically recommend this book to anyone who knows little to nothing about CSS and wants to learn.

Part 1 (of two parts) deals with the core concepts of CSS, including the purpose of CSS, which is very rarely explained by similar works but which is necessary if the poor student is ever going to be successful. The examples are practical and not overly complex. In particular when the author states that there are several ways of accomplishing something he proceeds to give an explanation of each along with an example, then will follow up by citing the advantages and disadvantages of each method. By the end of Part 1 the student will be able to construct a fairly nice web site. I did, by the way, construct a web site using the illustrious Mr. Collison's methods and when my layout failed in a rather spectacular fashion I was able to fix the problem by changing three lines in my CSS file. I would recommend that everyone reading this book construct a site of a dozen pages or so before continuing into Part 2 with the caveat that you'll end up changing parts of your work once you complete the final section, which deals with common web layouts in use today and is written in a logical manner.

As I may have mentioned in my smooth segue between paragraphs, Part 2 deals with common web layouts and allows the student to come to grips with the strengths and foibles of each along with browser inconsistencies. Everything learned in Part 1 is used and expanded upon and by the end of the book the student will be able to construct a very nice web site that is easy to maintain and modify as needed. The final chapter takes the student through the design process from beginning to end and includes problem solving and tweaking the design to produce a more aesthetically pleasing web site. The book also includes a very nice CSS reference in the appendix which I discovered later on. I should have looked for it earlier, as I would have saved myself some time and energy by not having to thumb through a previous chapter, searching for a CSS command.

If you read this book you'll quickly discover that the author does not waste space with pointless anecdotes, inside jokes or Pecksniffish rhetoric concerning their own achievements and unsupported preferences. Ergo, do not skip any paragraphs while you are reading. The author's style is succinct without being dry, which I find refreshing. Another thing I admire is that the author uses best practices throughout the book. I can't count the number of times I've read a coding example that contains a standard disclaimer stating that the example is for demonstration purposes and does not necessarily follow industry standard best practices. If best practices are important, why not write your examples to conform? Simon Collison does, explains why things are written the way they are, and follows his own good advice throughout. Finally, the author is keenly aware of the scope of his book. Beyond that scope he refuses to go, and with very good reason. Clearly the man thought this project out before he began writing and confines his efforts to this ambit. One welcome result of this planning is the elimination of the phrase “more on that later” from the entire text. This is a huge relief. I wish I had a nickel for each instance of an author beginning to explain some interesting point or other, only to have the explanation cut short with the non-committal cliché, “more on that later”.

If you buy this book with the idea of learning CSS, it will likely be the smartest $34.99 plus tax, shipping and handling you'll spend this year. The only commonition I provide is that the author is British with the typically dry, understated British diction. When Simon advises you get a cup of tea before beginning the next chapter, do as you like, but I recommend you plan for two fingers of rye that evening.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

What a Hoot!

It was a tough year, but I made it !!!

Typical Mud Hen

But not everyone is as lucky as I am......

The economy is so bad that I got a pre-declined credit card in the mail.

I ordered a burger at McDonald's, and the kid behind the counter asked,  "Can you afford fries with that?"

CEO's are now playing miniature golf.

If the bank returns your check marked  "Insufficient Funds," you have to call them and ask if they mean you or them.

Hot Wheels and Matchbox stocks are trading higher than GM.

McDonald's is selling the 1/4 'ouncer'.

Parents in Beverly Hills and Malibu are firing their nannies and learning their children's names.

A truckload of Americans was caught sneaking into Mexico .

Dick Cheney took his stockbroker hunting.

Motel Six won't leave the light on anymore.

The Mafia is laying off judges.

BP Oil laid off 25 Congressmen.

Congress says they are looking into the Bernard Madoff scandal. Oh Great!! The guy who made $50 Billion disappear is being investigated by the people who made $1.5 Trillion disappear!

And, finally...

I was so depressed last night thinking about the economy, wars, jobs, my savings, Social Security, retirement funds, and our bleak future, that I called the Suicide Lifeline and was connected to a call center in Pakistan. When I told them I was suicidal, they got all excited, and asked if I could drive a truck.

Road Construction

I managed to get this picture of an uncooperative spicebush swallowtail by seizing the opportunity. The butterfly vanished into the bushes shortly afterward. I enjoy butterflies for their beauty and because their presence marks a healthy environment.

Spicebush Swallowtail (Papilio troilus)
Shortly after getting my picture I ran into this mess at the corner of Flanders and Alexis.

Street Sweeper (maximus iter itineris eversor)
Traffic is tied up while the street sweeper throws concrete dust into the air along with a dark plume of diesel exhaust. What irritates me is that diesel engines are actually pretty clean, if they are maintained. The injectors on this engine are dirty which is causing the black smoke.


Take me out to the ball game,
Take me out with the crowd.
Buy me some peanuts and cracker jack,
I don't care if I never get back,
Let me root, root, root for the home team,
If they don't win it's a shame.
For it's one, two, three strikes, you're out,
At the old ball game.

- Jack Norworth
There's nothing like a good old baseball game. Baseball is one of the very few team sports I enjoy. Anyone can join in a sandlot game, and the minor leagues are fun to watch. Last night the Toledo Mud Hens tried pounding the snot out of the Louisville Bats, and kept it up for a full nine innings.

Ticket To Paradise Lost
My uncle, a sardonic man who, by comparison, makes me appear to be a gentle lamb of Christianity got us the tickets. We had great seats and so were able to enjoy the game. Uncle Sardonicus shouted advice to the umpires and the Mud Hen coach.

Fifth Third Field Mud Hens
Zack Cozart, Louisville Bats
I included Mr. Cozart here because he was kind enough to walk over and give a foul ball to a small boy at the edge of the bleachers. Nice move, Zack.

Alfredo Figaro, Toledo Mud Hens
Alfredo pitched most of the game until he finally hit one of the Bats with a pitch. After a consultation with the coach and several other players Alfredo continued to pitch and then hit another Bat two innings later.

Here's Big Bird's cousin from the wrong side of the tracks. Muddy was born July 6, 1989.

Final Score
We lost! Oh well. This was a good game. The Bats got one run up at the top of the ninth, then brought in Aroldis Chapman who struck out three Mud Hens in a row without breaking a sweat. The man's fast ball was breaking 100 mph consistently. Here's a link to the official game summary by Kyle Rowland.

Unlike some people I know, I don't consider it a complete waste if my team fails to win. I go to Fifth Third Field to enjoy myself and watch a good game of minor league baseball. Watching a game where the final score is 50 to zero is not my idea of a good game.

For anyone who doesn't know, the Mud Hen is an actual bird. The American Coot (Fulica americana) is commonly known as a mud hen or marsh hen.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Traffic Problems

The season of the orange cone is nearing its end, so naturally some major maintenance to Alexis road must commence later rather than earlier. The bottleneck begins at the intersection of Monroe and Alexis in Sylvania, OH and continues past Flanders Road, which is where I took this photo. The warning sign is the typical government understatement, as this isn't a bump so much as a depression capable of ripping out the transfer case, steering assembly and both differentials of any four wheel drive pickup modified for off road travel.

Precipice Ahead
For those not familiar with Alexis road, it is a heavily traveled four lane highway close to the Michigan State line and running East and West. Its proximity to Michigan and intersection with US 23 attracts an inordinate number of maniacs. The construction has closed the outside lanes in both directions.

I've always liked heavy equipment. Pictures of old steam shovels fascinate me, and I'd give a good deal to see one of those old behemoths in action. It seems I must be content to watch this device, which appears to scrape the blacktop off the road, crunch it up and send it into a large dump truck. I presume the device has an official name, but I don't know what it's called. I've named it the road excavator. 

Road Excavator

Road Excavator

Road Excavator
This is the intersection of Whiteford and Alexis, just West of Flanders road. Note the Westbound traffic backed up from Hell to breakfast.

Traffic Snarl
You can just make out a flagman (flag person) in the middle of the intersection. With everyone backed up into one lane and rush hour just getting started, it follows that the flag person will halt traffic completely so as to allow this dump truck to slowly turn around in the middle of the intersection.

Dump Truck Turning Around
If the tempers of the drivers weren't frayed before, they are now. The excavator requires a constant supply of empty dump trucks, thus ensuring that as many drivers as possible are allowed to stare at a green light while their path is blocked by the enormous dump truck carefully backing and filing. Full trucks don't turn around, but just force their way into traffic and drive off down the road. I have no idea where they take the debris - they probably just dump it into Ten Mile Creek where it can pollute the river and poison the groundwater.

The excavator is followed by several tractors equipped with various construction pieces. A giant steel brush cleans extraneous debris from the concrete road bed. Larger pieces of debris are picked up with a front end loader and dropped on the sidewalk. The goal of the workers employed here is not to keep pace with the excavator, but instead to hurry along and run up on the excavator, thus running out of road and 'work' to do. The workers then take a ten or fifteen minute break and lounge around so that the tax paying motorists who have to deal with the traffic congestion can get a good view of them 'working'.

Idle Equipment

Illegally Parked
This photo was taken at the intersection of Flanders and Alexis. This genius has parked his tractor-trailer rig on a hill, on the wrong side of the street. Although I didn't look, I doubt he's remembered to block the wheels.

My hard spot with this clown is that he's parked on a hill so that other drivers have to swing out into oncoming traffic to pass him, but can't see the five ton surprise that is headed their way at a beer fueled 90 mph. Where are Sylvania's Finest when you need them?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Work place shooting, Update

Yesterday I wrote about the workplace shooting in Manchester, Connecticut. You can read it here. The point I was trying to make is that such events are rare, and are in the same category as being struck by lightning or winning $1,000,000 by playing a slot machine in Las Vegas. Such things do happen, but they do not happen often. By the coverage given and the content of the news bites, commercial media would have everyone believe otherwise.

The Toledo Blade ran a story on this shooting today, Conn. killer had 2 guns in lunch pail at warehouse, which it got from the New York Times. Here's a quote from the article:
“We need the cops here right away — somebody got shot, I got shot!” a frantic Mr. Hollander told the 911 operator at 7:25 a.m. “Omar Thornton is shooting people!”
Again, a point from my previous post is that the police were informed via nine one one that Omar was shooting people, including the caller. At 9:30 a.m. the police entered the building where Omar was holed up. That's two hours during which Omar was free to do as he liked without opposition.

Somewhere in my previous post I may have given people the idea that I saw no point to being armed, which was not my intent. If someone were armed and willing to shoot at Omar, lives might have been saved. Particularly since,
...it's probably likely that he was targeting some individuals,” said Lt. Chris Davis of the Manchester Police Department. “He passed by many individuals and did not shoot them.”
So if Omar walked right past an armed person, that would provide an opportunity to shoot him in the back. Unlike the heroes of the old western movies and TV shows, I have no problem with that. Nor do I have any objection to anyone carrying their pistol with them anywhere they think they should, concealed or not. This includes violent felons who are out of jail, which some readers might consider to be a strange thought. My reasoning is that no amount of objection on my part will prevent a violent criminal from carrying a gun, so why bother?

If you do decide to carry your gun with you, I would hope that you'd memorize and learn to apply the four rules of gun safety as codified by Col. Jeff Cooper. You should also consult your attorney about what to do in the event of a shooting, as well as consulting someone in the police department as to how to conduct yourself after a shooting. For instance, pulling your pistol out of the holster with the intent of handing it over to police might be misconstrued by a young, inexperienced patrolman as an aggressive action that is preparatory to the discharge of said weapon in his general direction with corrections to ballistics to follow as needed. Keeping your attorney's emergency contact information with you along with a good bail bondsman is also a good idea.

Another thing that bothers me about the commercial media coverage of this shooting is the lack of any mention of a hate crime. The shooter's family claims Omar was forced to endure racial slurs and harassment at work. Omar was black and all the victims were white. Somehow this isn't a hate crime. At least, if you believe commercial media it isn't.

So to summarize my own personal stand on an armed populace, I believe all adults who want to should carry their pistol with them. I also believe that if someone besides Omar had armed lives might have been saved. Might have been, which is not a certainty.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Work place shooting

In case you haven't heard, another work place shooting has taken place. Omar Thornton killed eight people at Hartford Distributors, a beer and wine distribution warehouse in Manchester, Connecticut last Tuesday (August 3rd).  Omar's motive is, so far, harassment in the workplace.

The anti-freedom advocates started having nocturnal emissions Tuesday night. Now they have eight more reasons to pass another set of Draconian gun laws against the law abiding citizens of the United States. Their usual claim is that the reason this shooting happened is that we don't have enough law to prevent mass shootings like these. And, as usual, they haven't stripped commercial media's hyperbole and looked at the facts.

Mass shootings are rare. Consider this quote from Newsweek in the article, Workplace Shootings: Rare, Horrifying, and Totally Unpredictable
Of the 15,000 average annual homicides, less than 1 percent are mass killings. But as the economy tanks and jobs are scarce, the rates of these killings increase. So says Jack Levine, the Brudnick professor of sociology and criminology at Northeastern University.
Okay, 15,000 sounds like a lot. How does this number stack up against other leading causes of death in the United States? According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) it isn't in the top ten, which published this list:

Number of deaths for leading causes of death:
  • Heart disease: 616,067
  • Cancer: 562,875
  • Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 135,952
  • Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 127,924
  • Accidents (unintentional injuries): 123,706
  • Alzheimer's disease: 74,632
  • Diabetes: 71,382
  • Influenza and Pneumonia: 52,717
  • Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 46,448
  • Septicemia: 34,828
Not only do the annual number of homicides not make the list, but the number one spot, heart disease, is so far out in front of homicides that there isn't any comparison. Then there's the fine print; the real number is less than one percent of 15,000, or less than 150. Not even on the map when it comes to death. My chances of being struck and killed by lightening are much better than this long shot. Still and all, I might win the lottery. A little study into this might help me along the way.

One thing that I know and that every shooter who has ever tried to hit anything under stress knows for a cold, certain fact is this: people can and do miss a man sized target at six feet or less. For instance, I'm a fairly good shot. In a group of high end recreational shooters (including police) I'll land right in the middle on most days. The first time I shot in an International Practical Shooting Confederation (IPSC) competition I was supposed to knock a bunch of steel plate targets (about the size of a large dinner plate) off a rail at around thirty feet. The more I shot at them the longer those damn plates just sat there, unmoving. I was all keyed up and couldn't hit a thing. This happened in a controlled environment with stationary targets, good lighting and a group of men who were all cheering me on. Imagine trying to hit anything in a hostile environment with moving targets and poor lighting, and you'll have some idea of how this could happen (from the NY Daily News): Hartford Distributors VP Steve Hollander miraculously survives Omar Thornton's Conn. murder spree

Omar Thornton aimed his weapon at his boss and fired - twice - but the shaken victim miraculously escaped with only a grazed arm and jaw.

"By just the grace of God, I don't know how he missed me," said Steve Hollander, a Hartford Distributors vice president who was treated at Hartford Hospital and released.
I'm not going to count on the shooter missing, but I'm a firm believer in the old adage that the Lord helps those who help themselves. In this case? Don't just stand there, run! Run in an erratic zig-zag and try to get hard cover between you and the shooter. Even if you're old, fat and ugly as the back end of a bus and can't run because you're carrying an extra 100 pounds, you have to try. Your friends and family will thank you for your efforts. If you don't have friends or family, do it anyway. The commercial news media will want to interview you right afterwords and you'll have your five minutes of fame.

Invariably someone will hear about this story and ask aloud, "Didn't the police do anything?" Yes, Virginia, the police did do something. Again, from the NY Daily News: Truck driver Omar Thornton kills 8 in Connecticut, rants about racism to mom before taking own life

At a 7 a.m. meeting, he [Omar] was shown the videotapes [of Omar stealing from the company] and offered the choice to quit or be fired.
Which would lead to a confrontation. I'd think that the manager would have one or more security guards around just in case old Omar got frisky. I guess the management thought they could take care of themselves, which is usually a major mistake. Case in point, why do police call for back up? Then there's the reality factor. Although I can't say for sure, I think it's reasonable to believe that none of these men who initially confronted Omar has been in a knock down, drag out fight since grade school. Maybe one pushing match and an occasional shouting contest, but the wade in and slug it out complete with knee to groin and head butt to nose just is not a part of their everyday activities. Now then, let's take that factoid to the next level. How many have been in a knife fight this week? How about a gun fight? Me, I've never been in a gun fight. I don't want to be in a gun fight, either. Knives are also out. In fact, I do not want to get into a fight at all. Omar isn't put together this way. After looking at the video and signing resignation papers, Omar stepped aside for a drink of water and to get his lunch box. Then the pellets hit the windmill.

The normally quiet truck driver started firing about 7:30 a.m.
Got that? The lead hits the air at 7:30 in the morning. Someone (people will do this) dials Nine One One, which the government will have you believe will put a stop to all this shooting and killing. It doesn't. So what happened?

Thornton shot himself in an office area after SWAT teams entered the building and closed in about 9 a.m., Manchester Police Chief Mark Montminy said.
Nine in the morning. At 7:30 the police were called, and at 9:30 the SWAT team entered. My point here is not to hammer the police response time or lack thereof. My point is that the commercial media is very carefully ignoring this two hour period and the ramifications of same, which are pretty obvious. You are on your own. From the time some homicidal fruitcake reaches for his weapon until the time the threat has been eliminated, you have no help. There isn't anyone to take care of you except you, and that's it. I've never seen this appear anywhere in commercial media and I doubt I will.

We have fire drills in the office. We never have medical emergency drills or deranged shooter drills. Management refuses to think about the problem because there are no easy solutions or drills. And, as I pointed out in the beginning, it's rare. We'd do better practicing lightning strike drills, or flood drills. Better yet, tornado drills.

Obviously, these events are unpredictable. In this case the shooter had a family and plans for the future. Again from the NY Daily News: Kristi Hannah, girlfriend of Omar Thornton, recalls gunman's goodbye, racism concerns
"We were engaged, we were talking about having a family," she said. "I fell in love with him because he was the most gentle man I had ever met. His eyes were so kind. He would never hurt another creature."
Clearly Omar had a few surprises for Hannah, one being conclusive proof that he would hurt another creature. Still, what else would we expect her to say? That she lived with a violent border line personality for eight years?

Hannah also backed up claims by Thornton's kin that the 34-year-old gunman finally snapped after years of being subjected to racist taunts by co-workers.

"Everyone of [the victims] was a person I heard Omar mention," she said. "He didn't go around randomly shooting people. He knew these were the people who harassed him."
So if the friends and family couldn't spot something of this magnitude on the immediate horizon, who could? I have no real answer for this one.

For no particularly good reason, here are a two links to timelines of mass shootings in the US:
The proposed theory that Omar snapped because of harassment at work is very likely true. As everyone knows, unless you are a member of a protected class and can prove you are being harassed because of your membership in that class, there isn't much you can do to stop harassment in the workplace.

As for my position, given the odds that favor my having to deal with a workplace shooter up close an in person, I'm not worried. That said, if I did have to deal with a mass murderer the things I'd want the most in order of preference are:
  1. To be somewhere else. Nothing beats a disaster of any kind better than not being there when it happened.
  2. A fully armed and ready special forces team between me and the shooter who have been ordered to take out the shooter.
  3. Some acceptable variant on the special forces team scenario.
  4. Betsy. In my right hand, one up the pipe with a half-dozen spare clips riding in my left prat.

'nuff said.