Writing on the Double Yellow Line

Militant moderate, unwilling to concede any longer the terms of debate to the strident ideologues on the fringe. If you are a Democrat or a Republican, you're an ideologue. If you're a "moderate" who votes a nearly straight party-ticket, you're still an ideologue, but you at least have the decency to be ashamed of your ideology. ...and you're lying in the meantime.

Name:
Location: Illinois, United States

Saturday, January 03, 2015

I Can't Breathe, Either


I Can't Breathe, Either
©2015  Ross Williams

 

 

A sputtering war against law enforcement and governmental authority in general was given a little unnecessary prodding last year.  It's taken me a while to synthesize the mess into what I think is now a cogent scold upon the folks who are feeling all smug about themselves.  Which is to say, the legal establishment, the police, the liberal nanny-statists, and in one notable example the racial minorities, … virtually all of those feeling wronged in some way by what's going on.

I can't remember how many times I've had to say this and yet it doesn't sink in: using law to "solve" a "problem"  does one of two things, and usually both:
1] it creates a new class of bureaucrats to nose around in everyone else's business;
2] it creates a new class of criminal needing punishment from the legal system.

What good is a law if there is no penalty for violating it?  Ergo, violators will be prosecuted.  That makes people into criminals.  In order to determine if there are violators of the law, a group of people need to be given the job of determining if the citizenry is properly conducting their affairs.  This means creating a group of governmental busibodies.  It doesn't matter what the law is.  The Obamacare law created around 45 million criminals overnight, just a year ago.  That is the number of uninsured Americans who defied the Obamacare mandate to buy health insurance by midnight on the last day of 2013.  Not buying health insurance is against the law — the law which is enforced by the IRS, by the way, not that Obamacare is a tax or anything.
 
What happens to a society where much, if not most, of what a person does is, or potentially is, in violation of some kind of law or other is that the society becomes criminalized.  Not having health insurance is a crime.  Letting your dog out the front door in the morning without staking it down is a crime.  Buying cigarettes in one state where the tobacco taxes are low to sell for a profit in the next state where the tobacco taxes are astronomical is a crime.  Not wearing a seat belt and doing other genuinely stupid things is a crime.  Yes, stupidity is a crime — we have guaranteed the criminality of 100% of the population.  The more police or other government agencies are used to enforce these laws upon people, the less respect people will have for the government … and the policing forces of that government.

The less respect people have for the cops and the government, the more likely it will be for the deranged loonies to start picking off individuals within the government.  I said in an essay relating the Congressman Giffords shooting in Arizona that the ones who created the landscape for this sort of stammering insurrection are those who are whimpering about being targeted by the loonies.  And I mentioned that it's difficult to tell who's a loony and who isn't because what the loony says is largely correct.

If TSA doesn't want people criticizing them as sexual abusers and forcible pornographers, then they should stop groping old ladies and pornoscoping the rest.  If the IRS doesn't want people flying airplanes into their offices for being excessive and highhanded, then they should stop being excessive and highhanded.  It's extremely difficult to tell who deserves sympathy when loonies take out the people abusing their authority in this country.  …in this FREE country where you are not permitted to be searched without a warrant [it is the warrant which identifies the reason, and therefore the reasonableness, for the search] and where we are required to be considered innocent until proven guilty, and not the other way around.

This means quite a lot of crime we now solve will necessarily go unsolved.  But what's the alternative?  The alternative is to treat everyone as a criminal — which is pretty much standard procedure for government in America today.  Think about the last time you were pulled over for doing 43 in a 35 [or in my case, it was doing 43 in a 25 in a little pissant speedtrap town a few miles north of me, where I was maybe going 19 because I had been stuck behind a slow diesel pickup hauling a cattle trailer for the previous 2 miles.  My daughter was late for her girl scout bowling event and even she was griping about being delayed by this truck crawling down the road.  But in order to fight the ticket, I'd have had to take her out of school and her mother was not amenable to that.  "Just pay the fine!  Why does everything have to be an issue with you?"]

Rather than just writing the damned ticket — deserved or otherwise — and being done with the encounter in about 45 seconds, what do the cops do?  They recite a list of activities and movements you are not permitted to make, and if you make any of them you will be placed under arrest or at least have a gun shoved in your face; you'll have the cop's face in your face in any event so he can sniff your breath; you are checked for seat belts and passengers ditto; your insurance is checked; your registration is checked; your license plate is "run"; your name and social security number and/or drivers license number is "run".   This process takes up to twenty minutes, and it must be done [they say] because "don't you realize how many criminals are caught in routine traffic stops?!?"

Yes, a handful, maybe a whole three-digits' worth nationwide each year … out of probably a few hundred million "routine traffic stops".  Do the math on that.  Is it worth treating several million Americans like criminals [many of them multiple times] in order to catch a few hundred shoplifters and check kiters?  The Constitutional answer, of course, is no.  But citizens are treated worse than criminals, actually, because much of the indignity of a traffic stop is not permitted in a maximum security prison without reams of signed permission slips that the traffic cop doesn't have.  Sadly, our legal thinkers believe large parts of our Constitutional rights apply only to criminals or criminal suspects, and merely being pulled over for crawling through town behind a cattle carrier because Deppity Fife was not up to his quota doesn't earn me certain of my rights.  It would make it too difficult for the cop to do his job.

Here's the thing: governing a free people is supposed to be difficult.  If governance is easy, the next stop is tyranny.  Crack a history book.  There is no government, ever, in the history of mankind, which started out by imposing hardships on the ability of the government to govern where that government, by increment, over generations, failed to make it easier to govern until it could govern at will and thereafter become a dictatorship.  In democracies like Greece, or democratic republics like Rome, this process took between 200 and 300 years.  We are right on schedule.

Among the scheduled activities predicted by the history books is increased armed conflict directed at the law enforcers in the increasingly tyrannical society.  Sure enough, there've been a handful of loonies shooting cops recently.  I'm not surprised.  Not in the slightest.

I take that back: yes I am.  What I'm surprised about, though, is that it took this long; I was anticipating a galvanizing event to inspire cop-targeting several years ago.

In July of last year, a fat black guy with multiple health problems [and an arrest record mostly for doing what he was stopped and questioned for, but who was otherwise "law-abiding"] was stopped and questioned by New York City cops for selling single cigarettes on the streets of the Big Apple.  Selling loose cigarettes — "loosies" — is illegal.  …because tobacco is highly taxed in New York State [$13/pack, I've heard; not carton … pack], and if someone from da Bronx were to, say, take a cab over to Joisey and buy, say again, a few dozen cartons of cigarettes for the modest price of $50 because New Jersey's tobacco taxes are significantly lower, and then bring them back to NYC and sell individual smokes at a dollar a stick because the customer doesn't have the $13 it takes to buy a pack … that's called "black marketing".  You are not paying the New York taxes in your commercial transaction in New York, and that is illegal.

It is also free enterprise in any nation based on freedom, but that no longer includes us here in the US.

At any rate, Eric Garner, the fat black guy with multiple health problems, was selling loosies when he was approached by cops … like he had been many times before.  The cops repeatedly told him they were not arresting him, but they continued to pester him regardless.

Why?  If the guy isn't going to be arrested, then … cops … here's what you do: leave him the hell alone.  Selling loose cigarettes is illegal regardless of their source and he could have been arrested for it, but the cops made a decision not to do so.  But the cops couldn't leave it at that.  Garner, who'd been arrested multiple times for "black marketing" loosies was irate about being pestered and he mouthed off at the cops.  The boy's got a First Amendment; mouthing off is permitted, and … cops … if you're going to be increasingly in the faces of the public for violating any of the bazillion laws there are to enforce, you'd better expect to hear quite a bit of citizen jawing.  Just a head's up.

 After Garner started mouthing off the cops attempted to calm him … by touching him and pushing him [albeit gently at this point] to the side and "out of the way".  Of what?  Who knows.  Was it necessary?  Not at all.  It was a situation created completely by the cops who were "not going to arrest him" but yet somehow couldn't manage to leave the guy alone.

At this point, Garner began "resisting".  Resisting what?  Being pushed around by cops … which they are not permitted to do when they are not making an arrest; Garner was therefore not committing a crime by "resisting".  You cannot "resist arrest" unless you are being arrested.  At almost all other times there is no enforceable requirement to cooperate with the police.  The police on the scene were constructing a confrontation out of whole cloth.

At this point, the cops attempted to subdue Garner … for "resisting"  what the cops had no business doing in the first place if they were not going to arrest him for selling loosies … and they subdued him by using a choke hold.  A choke hold is a type of maneuver used in professional wrestling [where it's called a "sleeper" hold] and its street-fighting homage where you lock your arm around someone's throat from behind tight enough to cut off circulation to the head and the guy passes out.   Only in Garner's case, a fat guy with multiple health problems, it caused him to go into cardiac failure and die.

His last words were "I can't breathe," which was technically false since he was talking, but someone having a heart attack from the unnecessary physical ruckus created by cops abusing their power and deliberately creating a confrontation … we can forgive a dying man his mistaken impression.

Garner was killed by the cops, and for no good reason.  Tax collection.

Do I really need to spell out the lessons to be learned here?  Do I really need to question why, when the history books are chock full of examples and when one example is from the infancy of our own nation itself, anyone in this country needs to have those lessons spelled out for him … again?

The more laws you make the more law-breakers you make.  Some laws are necessary for a society to operate smoothly and the government must exercise its power to enforce them; other laws are only necessary for a government to exercise its power and don't, in themselves, make a society operate manifestly more smoothly; they simply create a criminal class which it typically becomes fashionable to pillory, usually for the purpose of extracting their money.  These laws exist solely to make the government more powerful.

When the laws whose purpose is to make the government more powerful overtake in perceived importance the laws which make the society operate more smoothly, the people begin to get agitated.  When enough people are agitated they start throwing things — first, usually, are unkind words, followed by anonymous sticks and rocks, and then non-anonymous sticks and rocks, and then bullets, and then worse.

Seriously, crack a history book.  Our country was founded as a more or less direct result of ridiculously excessive taxes on various consumer goods starting famously with tea, and the refusal of a group of malcontents to pay them.  Ridiculously excessive taxes on tobacco?  Malcontents refusing to pay them?  Ridiculously excessive [to the point of being psychotic] taxes on health care?  And 45 million refusing, as of midnight, December 31st 2013, to pay them?  Stop me if you've heard this one before.  This cannot end well, and I amazed that so many people can't figure that out for themselves.

We have seen bullets and cars used as projectiles lobbed at cops just in the last month, taking a few cops' lives, all emanating from this [and another, still procedurally abusive, but markedly different] event.  I've said it before: tolja so.

This other event occurred maybe 25 miles from my house, in the month following the Eric Garner travesty.  And sadly, it is the one that is galvanizing the stammering insurrection.  This is sad, because it is inarguably the one event that the cop, himself, was largely justified in doing what he did.

In Ferguson Missouri, two black male youths boosted a handful of crap from a convenience store/gas station one night last August.  Extremely minor petty theft.  The clerk called the cops with a description.  Later that evening, a white cop saw two youths walking down the middle of the street.  The cop [in his car] approached and told the kids to move to the sidewalk.  The youths mouthed off — which they are permitted to do, frankly.  It appears to have been at this point that the cop noticed that the two were a match to the shoplifters, down to the unique color of their socks, and that they even were carrying the very items that were reported stolen.  The cop retreated and called for backup and while waiting, the youths approached the cop [still in his car] reached through the window to grab the cop's gun and one [reportedly] informed the cop "You're too much of a pussy to shoot me".  A struggle ensued, the cop won the struggle [finally, after getting beaten in the face and shot in the hand by his own gun], and one kid was shot … multiple times, when once would arguably have sufficed; this kid was killed.

Here's a hint to any petty thieves who don't want to die for a crime that would net a $200 fine.  If you're going to boost crap, don't walk down the middle of the street afterward.  If you're going to walk down the middle of the street afterward and a cop tells you to move to the sidewalk, say, "Oh, yeah, sorry" and then do it.  If you can't find the sidewalk as requested, don't show him the stuff you stole.  If you must show him the stuff you stole thus making him request the assistance of other cops to come arrest your stupid ass, don't saunter over to his car before they get there and compound your future problems by trying to boost his gun while demeaning his masculinity.  Why does this need to be explained?

The pathetic thing is, this event — constructed by the youthful thieves and not the cops — is being cited as a "Civil Rights Moment" by the activists who have not yet emerged from the 1950s.  I've heard comparisons of the use of police force in Ferguson to that used in Selma.   … because the blacks in Selma obviously poured gasoline all over themselves, set themselves on fire, and then started bawling when firehoses were used to put them out.  Being washed down the street was just a side-effect.

Race-baiters demanded the criminal prosecution of the cop, and everyone from the locals to the feds is falling in line to do it.  The St Louis Country prosecutor, though, Bob McCulloch [in the six-degrees of separation game, I stand at two; Wall-Eye Bob is the friend of a former boss of mine] refused to do his job of looking at the credible evidence and declining to prosecute; he washed his hands of responsibility and referred the matter to a grand jury.  But McCulloch didn't use soap; he entirely forgot [or ignored] what he ever learned about the grand jury process in law school.

The purpose of a grand jury is to determine if there is enough positive evidence of criminal wrongdoing that could be taken to trial; a grand jury is a one-sided event by its nature.  That's why grand juries are not public.  A grand jury is not to compare and contrast the positive evidence against the exculpatory evidence, nor to provide reasonable doubt.  Those are matters for the defense attorney to handle at trial.  McCulloch's grand jury was, in effect, a closed-door trial with McCulloch acting as defense attorney despite his duty to prosecute.

Despite this prosecutorial misconduct, there was no crime committed by the cop that could be prosecuted.  McCulloch needed to pull on his big-boy pants and make that decision himself without punting to a circus grand jury that he was ringmaster of.  The only evidence suggesting there was a crime was provided by the other petty thief.  All eye witnesses and all physical evidence deny his claim that the pair were innocently attempting to surrender themselves for shoplifting and were instead attempting to mug an armed cop.  When you do that, you'll likely get shot, and one of them did.

However, there are lessons to be learned here, as well.  Chief among them is that when you have too many laws and too many interactions between citizens and cops [or between citizens and other bossy, intrusive, self-righteous officials with impunity and, typically, insufferable smugness], … even if the cop is justified in this one incident, far too many people are going to be remembering the 100 other incidents where the cop or other official was simply being a self-important asshole, and they are going to refuse to give the benefit of the doubt, let alone believe the evidence.  They will, instead, as they've done in the aftermath of Ferguson, construct themselves a tidy conspiracy theory holding that the physical evidence was fabricated, and all the witnesses except the other thief lied.  And then they'll use this conspiracy theory to justify rioting and burning and looting and wetting their panties in public.  …or to get out of college finals a half a continent away because they are just too "traumatized" by a kid who tried to mug a cop being killed in the effort.

This is a "cry wolf" moment for our form of governance.  If we are to be a free people, then the government must leave us the hell alone in virtually all circumstances; stop making excuses to pester the people.  Because if you can stop, then when the government does deign to pester us for one of the remaining valid reasons they are permitted to pester, the chances that anyone, let alone whole demographics, will fly off the handle in exaggerated response will be virtually nil.  However, cops [and other bossy, etc officials] pester citizens routinely, and for everything from selling individual cigarettes in the face of moronic taxes to seat belts to licenses for selling homemade cupcakes to too much toothpaste in your carry-on to health insurance to a dog that pees on a neighbor's tree.  As a result, I'm sorry, but people are bound to not be terribly sympathetic to the government position when incidents such as Ferguson happen.  The Ferguson cop was correct, but many people don't want to hear it, and therefore they won't.  They are simply too fed up with the rest of the government bullying to listen.  And I don't blame them; I'm fed up with it, too.

But the final scold goes to the very people who are the most critical of the government and their enforcers in these [and a handful of other recent] events.  These people are the idiot liberals, the ones who irrationally, without any supporting evidence and whole libraries full of proof to the contrary, believe that government is a valid means of fixing social predicaments and particularly, with respect to these incidents, they are the minorities in our nation.
 
Need airline "safety"? have the government treat everyone like a terrorist until they prove they aren't.  Want toys that don't choke babies? have the government design toys.  Tired of seeing people die in car wrecks? have the government force people into seat belts.  Don't want people making snide comments about your ethnicity? have the government create politeness guidelines the breaking of which is seen as a violation of the "civil right" to be uninsulted if you are a racial or ethnic minority.

One question, folks … how in the hell do you think the government can do these wondrous and magical things?

The answer is: force.  If people do not voluntarily comply with the reams of rules put out by our governments, they will be forced to comply.  In either event, the use of force is either manifest or threatened.  People with guns, or bossy people in suits holding laminated ID badges who can call the people with guns, will make you do what they tell you to do whether you want to do it or not, whether it's any of their business or not, whether they are allowed to or not, and whether we were designed to live like that or not.  It will always, always, always boil down to the folks with guns forcing you to do what they tell you to do.  It doesn't matter if it's some guy trying to make a buck selling loose cigarettes to beat an outlandish morality tax, or some arrogant kid who boosted a QuikTrip trying to beat down the guy there to arrest him for it, it's people with guns using force.

In the nation we were intended to live in, only a very very very small fraction of that force is legitimate.  Stopping petty thievery, yes.  Stopping street peddling, no.  But when you insist that the government solve all our problems, even problems that really aren't problems, the way you liberals have, the government will stop seeing the necessary distinctions between these circumstances, and they will treat them all identically as even you are now realizing, as just another opportunity to use force to make people do what they say.

I did not want the government to solve all these problems, because I know that the government's only method of solving problems is to turn a whole lot more of us into criminals that need to be forced to obey their stupid rules.  YOU are the ones who wanted the government to solve all these problems; the use of force — which you are now whining is "excessive", which it often [but not always] is — is a direct result of YOUR demands.  Not mine.

YOU did this.  Don't forget that.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?
©2014  Ross Williams
 


There's been a political cartoon published criticizing the National Savior's regal proclamation about the nation's 4.3 million … 8.7 million … 11.2 million … whatever the figure the immigration hounds happen to settle on this week … illegal immigrants.
 
 

The cartoon is being decried, naturally, by ignoramuses — go figure — as "racist".

Clue, simpletons: even if the people crawling in the window are hispanics [and that would be an appropriate guess], "hispanic" is still not a race.  I'm getting tired of having to explain it.  "Hispanic" is a regionalism which — according to the very definition of the term, invented by the US Census Bureau for the 1970 US Census — transcends race: "a person of [list excised for brevity] general Spanish-origin culture regardless of race". 

Identifying someone as "hispanic" on an employment application is the equivalent of using "Yankee" [or "Damyankee",  in the south] on the demographic portion of the same employment application to identify someone from north of the Potomac.  Or, for the sake of equivalence, it is also the same as using "Redneck" [to be polite] or "Peckerwood" to identify someone from south of same.  Further juxtaposed examples: Sissy Easterner and Cowboy; Left-Coaster and Mudstuck Midwesterner.

In short, moonbats, "Mexican" is not a race; "Guatemalan" is not a race; "Dominican" is not a race.

"Hispanic"! Is not! A race!  Get it through your heads.

But the idiot disingenuity does not end there.  Of all the vacuous critics available I shall use the criticism offered up by one Timothy B Lee for no other reason than his was the most succinct of the competing moronicals, cramming the standard ignorances into a smaller space than his simpering cohort.

Beyond betraying his cluelessness on race, he admits to a gross noncomprehension of the purpose of political cartoons: broad burlesque — gross exaggeration for the purpose of making a larger point.  He piously sniffed "Hispanic Americans celebrate Thanksgiving like the rest of us…".   Then he whined that the National Savior's imperial pronouncement doesn't actually allow in more illegal immigrants [except when it does], it simply allows those already here to stay.  A-a-a-and congratulations on missing the point, there, bozo.  You had to be pretty spry and flexible to dodge those.

Finally, he very adeptly refuses to honestly address the primary problem with this subject in the first place: the word "illegal".  Like so many dishonest nitwits who prattle on about illegal immigration and should keep their mouths shut instead, he endlessly equivocates the matter, watering down the subject with euphemism, until it resembles in their minds [and their minds only] nothing more errant than showing up at a classmate's graduation party without having strictly been invited.

In the spirit of the season, he equivocates the modern illegal immigrant from Central and South America to the "uninvited" Pilgrims of the Plymouth colony.  With a command of language this honest and literate, I would be unwilling to get in a car the boy was driving where he needed to read, comprehend, and act on various road signs.  My life would be in peril.

Illegal does not mean uninvited.  The Pilgrims were not illegally in residence.  Random millions of [often] hispanics and [less often] Chinese and ex-soviet bloc Eastern Europeans, however, are.  In order to make an honest parallel, you'd need to demonstrate that the Narragansett, or the Pequot, or the Pawtuxet, or the Wampanoag [et al] had a law against people landing on their shores and squatting thereupon; they did not.  The United States — for better or worse — does have laws [too many, actually, and I am on the "worse" side of the better/worse dichotomy] against people entering our country without filling out reams of paperwork and submitting themselves for imperious background investigation.  Failure to follow our immigration laws makes an immigrant, by definition, illegal.  It isn't hard to understand.

Without a similar Amerind law against improper immigration, the Pilgrims would not have been and could not have been [again, by definition] illegal.  A good argument could be made, on the other hand, that they were, unlike most modern illegal immigrants, uninvited — as that class of modern American who cannot tell the difference between "illegal" and "uninvited" often goes out of its way to invite illegal immigration.  Case in point: the National Savior's nonconstitutional imperial edict, and the eternal rationalization of it by illiterate morons who cannot see a difference between "illegal" and "uninvited".

Indeed, as Lee continues to sniffle, the US for centuries "welcomed wave after wave of immigrants", yet he fails to acknowledge that those immigrants uniformly followed the rules of the day in coming here, thus not becoming illegal immigrants.  Following the laws of the day for those centuries involved buying a ticket on a ship heading to the US, walking off after making port, and signing the log book in English [or in as near English as possible].  Following the law and avoiding becoming illegal was trivially simple.

It is this comprehensive failure among the critics of American immigration policy marked by the recriminatory designation of "illegal" to get through their thick, hidebound, granite skulls that the immigrants they are so fond of would cease being illegal if those critics themselves were not so enamored of endless [and endlessly complex] laws upon every goddammed thing they can think of.  Today's immigration laws were crafted by the liberal boobs of the 60s and 70s who sought to place region-of-origin limits upon new American arrivals, and required that those arrivals be free of untoward political contrariness and have certain demonstrable skills — all subject to painstaking [and costly] investigation and verification by the US government.  Among the chief architects of these laws was one balloon-headed boob by the name of Edward "Ted" Kennedy.

Most of the hispanic immigrants Lee and his ilk get all teary-eyed over would not be "legal" under the best of circumstances; they don't have any of the statutory skills required to comply with US law.  Hispanics having those skills stay home and work for comparatively high wages in their own countries, and only come to the US as tourists.  That same thing cannot be said about the majority of the immigrants from China or the ex-soviet bloc.

Those who whimper and whine about immigration, and decrying the word "illegal" to describe a large portion of it, are simply demonstrating they are too dim to fundamentally understand the nature of the real problem: themselves.  They are the ones who seek to "fix" perceived "problems" by slathering it with inextricably complex federal law.  Then, when the law has been enacted and imposed for a generation, they act all flummoxed by the inevitable unintended consequences, blaming those who had nothing to do with it in the first place for their own self-righteous vanity in believing they could alter reality by plastering it with a law.

Once again: law does one of two things, and usually both at the same time:
1] create a new bureaucrat class;
2] create a new criminal class.

Those who seek to "solve" "problems" with laws are, whether they understand it or not [and in the case of Lee and his runny-nose gang, I'd guess not], demanding to reclassify a large portion of their fellow humans as criminals.  Forty-five million criminals were instantly created by Obamacare; various millions over a generation by US immigration law.  Feeble-minded dolts did this themselves; they have no claim to piety when others point out the consequences of their actions.

Monday, November 10, 2014

When in the Country, Reprise


When in the Country, Reprise
©2014  Ross Williams

 
 

I'll have to admit, Mr "I Want to Be a Good Neighbor", that you had me worried for a while.  First you came over condescendingly announcing that our dogs had destroyed your newly-poured concrete driveway.  I was imagining deep furrows in fresh, gray, liquid stone made by our two dogs, The Stupids, tear-assing after a squirrel or rabbit unlucky enough to be out at the same time as they were and which they spotted, eagle-eye as only dogs can do, in your brand new subdivision sprouting obscenely in the soybean field across the private country lane from our farmhouse — the same subdivision that is raising property tax rates for all homes three miles in every direction and will force another batch of farms out of existence.  You probably won't notice this side-effect, as it will come three, eight, seventeen years from now; most self-centered jackasses don't notice such things, caught up, as they are, in the self-righteous view that the world revolves around them and them alone.

You informed us that the cost of that concrete slab comprising but a small portion of your driveway — possibly as much as ten feet by thirty feet square — was $3,000.  …which is what inspired me to think there must have been deep furrows sliced through it.  Mere paw prints would add character and charm to the idyllic, bucolic existence you signed up for when you moved "to the country" to get away from the city where your neighbors are constantly in your face as you were in ours.  Deep furrows would instead need to "be jack-hammered out", as you informed us your concrete contractor said was the only recourse … and implying that we were somehow responsible to write you a check then and there to pay for.  "It's dog prints," you said your concrete guy told you … because "concrete guys" are notorious for being experts in wildlife tracking.  Though I immediately doubted, in the extreme, the ability of your "concrete guy" to know what the hell he was talking about insofar as the identification of any paw prints was concerned, I would not have been surprised in the slightest to learn that a dog — or two, or three — had run furrows through unset concrete when tear-assing after a critter.  We — I, and soon you — are in the country; it's what happens.  Get used to it.

But ours are far from the only dogs around, a point you steadfastly refused to grasp despite my repeated efforts to inform you.  For example, there's a blind chocolate lab living at the house next to us which waddles to and fro and bumps into almost everything in sight … as it were.  She periodically takes up residence in our garage when she's tired of waddling and needs to gather the strength to find her way back home.  Because we are the good neighbors you claim to aspire to being, we let her stay there for as long as she needs to.  If we hear her owners calling for her while she's drooling by the lawnmower, we will go over and tell them that she's in our garage again and she's welcome to stay unless she needs to get home and do homework or something.  Then the neighbors apologize for the inconvenience — which it isn't, by any stretch — follow us back to our garage on the far side of our house from theirs, and we have a chat about how our various children, our various gardens and fruit trees, or our various lives in general are doing.

This, for your information, is what good neighbors do.  What good neighbors do not do is ring the doorbell, then say " we want to be good neighbors," and then immediately prove themselves to be liars by making false accusations about the people and their dogs they just visited.  These are subtle differences to citified weenies, I realize, but you are now "in the country" and it's your duty and obligation to learn to discern — and then abide by — those distinctions.

As far as the other neighborhood dogs roaming the vicinity go, there are at least three dogs living beyond the tree line on the far side of your house which periodically parade through the soybean field you [and your various new arrivals] are assassinating with your McMansion constructions.  These dogs drive ours bonkers and our Stupids bark their fool heads off for hours at the mere memory of the smell of these interlopers wafting across the field.  One of your soybean field cohort has an old and arthritic yellow lab which hobbles around whenever it finds itself having the energy to do so … which also drives our dogs nuts.  The guy who bought the 80 acres of soybeans your subdivision is being obscenely built upon, and from whom you bought your lot, and lives in its far corner has a thick-haired mutt of some type which terrorizes all the dogs in a two square mile area … including ours.  This bully dog pals around with three other dogs from among the houses in your obscene new subdivision, dogs both large and small.  Our Stupids, if loose, will stand on our porch and howl about this pack of dogs, having been beaten up by them too many times to do much else.

 Additionally, the folks two fields behind us have three, or maybe four, dogs of their own which make their own daily tour of the entire neighborhood.  The gray short-hair has killed at least one of our hens; there's a hairy black mutt in the brood, a small schnauzer-ish mutt, and they are sometimes in the company of a whitish, yellowish mutt.  The first three are always together, the last is only sometimes with them.  But this posse, also, traipses through the soybean field you are killing and are at least as likely to have caused any dog print damage to your freshly poured driveway as ours were.  And that's not to mention the sheltie-like dog, the shepherd-mix, the collie, and the two indistinguishable mutts which live in that part of your obscene subdivision which lies on the far side of the ex-railroad grade bike path.

These are all dogs that we see on a daily basis, free and loose and wandering through the field that will become your yard, and does not include either those dogs which only make occasional trips, nor the indigenous coyotes that you will hear howling on a nightly basis when you finally take up residence in your fancy-ass new house — howling usually between 11pm and 4am — in choruses of alpha male-headed packs, or in the plaintive wails of forlorn single male coyotes looking for a date.  Frankly, I'd lay good money that a "concrete guy" couldn't tell a coyote track from a dog track under the best of circumstances let alone one where he was trying to humor a self-important anal-retentive jackass whining about his concrete driveway.  But of course, since ours are the dogs that you see most frequently on your thrice-weekly visits to your unfinished home merely because of their proximity, ours are the only ones who could have possibly dug the furrows that will cause you to have $3,000 of concrete shattered and replaced.

Second, I was puzzled and insulted by your insistence that you "grew up on a farm", since you seemed to have no comprehension to my explanation that dogs tend to keep coyotes away — coyotes will avoid confrontation at virtually all costs with anything even remotely near their size.  This includes adult humans, and loose dogs bigger than a rat terrier.  I've personally chased away three coyotes from my property this calendar year alone, including a pup which was bold enough [or desperate enough] to circle our house and pause long enough to be photographed.  The only time the neighbors' dog from two fields behind us has gotten to our hens is when our dogs were penned up.  The only time we've seen coyotes anywhere near [and this includes in the soybean field you are murdering for your McMansion] is when our dogs have been penned up or inside.  If you "grew up on a farm" as you [undoubtedly falsely] claimed, then you'd know this.  It seemed, though, as if this were the first time you'd heard such a silly thing.  I could see the idea churning it's slow way through your self-involved brain as you stood uninvited on my porch slandering us with your hand out waiting for our money: "Dogs keep coyotes away?  How preposterous!"

It's not silly, Mr "I grew up on a farm, so I know all about it"; nor is it preposterous.  I find it offensive in the extreme to be lied to.  You literally crossed the street to offend me by lying to me.  I'm well aware that lying about such trivialities is simply a symptom of the self-absorbed machiavellianism that jackasses such as yourself display in great oozing gobs, but it's not a "country" attitude.  Simply because you drove past a farm as a child — once — on a family vacation when the interstate was closed due to a tractor trailer accident, and you stopped at a farm stand for an apple while taking the detour, does not mean you "grew up on a farm".  My advice is that you cease telling people this mendacity, and cease it immediately.  We have enough liars as it is; unless you're in politics, you don't need to become a bigger part of the problem than you already are. 

Third, this was our second meeting.  We ran into you once a few months back when your house was little more than a frame with plywood sheathing.  Two of my sons and I had walked across the road to look at the [obscene] new construction killing the country and the farm fields that comprise it, and you, your wife, and two daughters showed up for one of your thrice-weekly inspections of the progress on your house.  You seemed very taken aback by our presence, and despite us trying to be friendly to you, you were having none of it.  Yet you claimed when you rang our doorbell that you moved to the country because you wanted the country life and all that comes with it.

You can't have it both ways, pal.  Dogs — your own or the neighbors — are an inextricable part of that life, and I will guarantee you that virtually everyone who lives within sight your house has taken a tour of its construction; I've watched them do it.  We have inspected virtually every new construction in your obscene subdivision.  When my house was being constructed nearly 20 years ago, the folks living within sight of it did the same thing, and then they told me about it.  As I write this, my dogs [penned up] are going bananas.  They are standing at attention, facing the front of my property — facing your new neighborhood.  Upon inspection, I see the two children from your subdivision neighbor [the one with the old, arthritic yellow lab] crossing the small plot of remaining soybean field between your house and theirs, entering your property, and circling your house, peering in windows, and bouncing around in that innocent way of children who don't comprehend the anal-retentive territoriality of city-dwellers who hate the city and move to the country to get away from it, only to recreate every city shortcoming in all its condescending splendor, in the country.  … the country, which does not want self-righteous jackasses such as yourself moving to it and changing it.  We moved here to get away from people like you.  Why can you not respect that?

These kids' parents have also inspected your house, as have the folks in nearly every house in your subdivision.  Your backyard faces my front yard, after all; I have a good view of what goes on there.  And you aren't in Kansas anymore.  Learn it; live it.











Fourth, I was appalled by your declarations that "you love dogs", that "you grew up with dogs", and that "our dogs were quite friendly", but that you "didn't want our dogs on your property".  Why the hell not?  Do you want coyotes wandering in as if they own the place? …because they will.  Do you want raccoons and possums tearing through your garbage?  I'll tell you right now the weekly garbage pickups won't collect what's strewn all over your yard, and if the trash they strew over your yard blows into ours [as the trade winds will most times dictate] I am now inclined to pick it up and deposit it back in your yard for you.  To this point, I collect all stray garbage and put it in our trash can for the next weekly pickup, because that's another thing good neighbors do, but I think now I'll make an exception … just for you.  You'll get your garbage back.  And if it isn't your garbage, I'll just assume it is, just like you assumed it was our dogs who destroyed your freshly-poured concrete driveway. 

Here's the thing, dimwit: If it's not our dogs, it'll be someone else's; this is the country, in case it escaped your attention.  It's dogs, or it's wildlife.  It's not optional; it'll be one or the other, and sometimes both.  Among the wildlife you will attract in a yard free of dogs, apart from the coyotes, raccoons and opossums previously mentioned, are, in no particular order:
1] skunks, in abundance.  They're always welcome, aren't they?  And when a feral cat, bobcat, raccoon, possum, coyote, owl or other nocturnal skulker startles them and they spray … you are now responsible for the month-long stench.  Congratulations.

2] foxes.  And since your yard is separated from ours by maybe a 12' wide gravel track, if any of the foxes that you invite into the area by imposing your childish "lock up your dog" mandate wander over and kill my hens, I think you will become responsible for the cost of replacing the hens and the cost of replacing the eggs we can no longer sell because they can no longer lay. …because they're dead.

3] more mice and voles than we strictly need to have.  Voles live in farm fields, empty lots and woods, and are inescapable to those who live in the country.  Their numbers are kept in check by hawks, cats, coyotes, foxes, owls and dogs.  But foxes are unwelcome around farms with poultry, and coyotes are unwelcome, period.  To replace the predation of foxes and coyotes, you need dogs.  Let's hope you don't have anything that rodents like to chew on … which is just about anything that isn't stone or steel.

4] groundhogs.  No animal causes foundation damage quicker than a burrowing groundhog digging a nest next to your poured concrete foundation — and they will invite themselves.  Their hole collects rainwater and roof drainage, the water sits next to your concrete and leaches out the lime below the above-grade tarring.  Lime makes the concrete waterproof and hard, and your foundation cracks decades before it should.  I'm surprised a guy who "grew up on a farm" doesn't know this about groundhogs.

5] deer.  You explained how you were going to be planting trees and that these trees may keep our dogs out of your yard — more proof, as if any were needed, that you are clueless about dogs, Mr "I grew up with dogs", and which would have caused me to laugh right in your face were I not so incensed about your snotty visit.  Trees, especially young trees with thin, tasty bark, are what deer feed on in the winter.  Before I got a dog four years after I moved here, I lost probably a hundred trees to deer.

…which is another of the reasons I concluded you bald-facedly lied about "growing up on a farm".  Seriously.  You whined in greasy unction because our dogs were peeing on the stakes in your construction zone and on the sides of your house.  Clue, moron: male dogs pee on stakes and walls [and car tires, and trees, and fence posts, and anything else which stands upright], female dogs squat and pee on flat ground; only one of our dogs is male.  This is how male dogs "mark their territory", which you'd know if anything you claimed about growing up on a farm with dogs were true.

 How do you think other animals know there a dog around and to steer clear of the area?  They smell fresh dog pee, is how.  You city jerks think you're seventy five shades of slick, but you're simply un-inscrutable, utterly transparent, ignorant, arrogant autocrats demanding the power to destroy everything you touch, in an anti-Midas manner, by converting it into the same city you left because you hate it.  I'd ask how you can be so stupid as to not comprehend the natural consequences of your imperious, "good neighbor" demands will acquire you — and everyone else around you — the very same conditions you moved into MY neighborhood to get away from … but you are a self-absorbed ignoramus who didn't understand the question, and you obviously know too little about the subject to answer it properly.  And lucky us: we have to deal with you from here on out.

 And finally, I was not simply worried, but righteously pissed when I came back from checking the barn for eggs later in the afternoon following your unwanted and sanctimonious visit only to see a sheriff's SUV pulling up our driveway.  I put the egg in the fridge and we came out to the garage to see the deputy standing there shaking his head and rolling his eyes as he introduced himself by saying, "You weren't perhaps visited by the guy building a house across the road about your dogs, werya?  He claims your dogs ruined his driveway, but it looks more like raccoon tracks to me.  Now I don't want to be writing citations for these kinds of things —this is the country.  But it is a county ordinance to tie up your dogs."

 He stammered apologetically through his entire perfunctory "I hate this part of the job" routine, and left after I expounded on the self-centered arrogance of the jackasses who move to the country because they hate the city, and then do everything they possibly can to turn the country into the same city they just left because they hate it.

 He laughed and conceded it was true; he walked back to his SUV, we went inside and muttered extremely impolite things about the guy who professed to be a "good neighbor" who will eventually move in across the private road from us and demonstrate himself to be anything but a good neighbor.

But all that was yesterday.  This morning, my wife and I were taking our weekly trip to the groceries [multiple groceries, yes, and another thing you'll need to get used to in the country — weekly grocery runs], and she suggested we stop by your subdivision and look at your driveway for ourselves.  So we did.  We took pictures.

At first all we could see was pure concrete, smoothed flat at the edge of each section, and ruffled in the center, just so, the way anal-retentive city folk trying to turn the country into the city demand it.  "Had they already jack-hammered it out and poured new? …in just over 13 hours?" I thought.  No, we would have seen and heard that.  I walked closer, finally crouched down to get a close look, and there, barely discernable, were footprints of not-a-dog padding a gentle path across the concrete and not even digging in.  They merely mar the striations of the finishing.  The deepest indent might be as much as a millimeter, and you need to catch the light just right, and from a very low angle, to see a track of any sort.

At any rate, they are not dog prints.  That much is evident to anyone who has either "grown up on a farm", "loves dogs", or "had dogs".  Sorry to prove you [and your wildlife expert "concrete guy"] to be liars and/or ignoramuses.  It's not even, as the sheriffs' deputy suggested, "probably raccoons" — raccoons have opposable thumbs and 'coon prints look like very small human hand prints.  We googled many animal prints upon our return from the stores.  Raccoons, possums, foxes, coyotes, skunks, woodchucks, …  and finally dogs.

 A dog's walking gait is, in terms that I have suddenly and sadly found myself becoming familiar with, a two-beat gait — two feet hit the ground simultaneously: left fore and right rear, then right fore and left rear.  It's left and right feet form a single line of prints with clear separation between individual prints on the center-line along the direction of travel.  A running dog has a four-beat gait — all four feet hit the ground separately — with a hind- and fore-paw landing parallel to each other and perpendicular to the direction of travel, and the other hind- and fore-paw landing on a center-line and having separation.  The footprints on the concrete driveway did not display a dog [or coyote] gait pattern, either walking or running.  A dog and coyote both have a heel pad with two center toe pads far ahead, and a toe pad on either side, between the heel pad and the two toe pads in front.  Also, the toe pads have a claw imprint ahead of each.

The prints on the concrete driveway had none of these characteristics.  Instead, the footprints on the driveway had a heel pad with four toe pads in front, no claw marks, and the rear paw prints nearly landed on the forepaw prints. 


http://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,4570,7-153-10370_12145_43573-146656--,00.html
 

 







All animals have claws, and all animal footprints display claw marks in one way or another in their foot prints … except cats.  Cats' claws are retractable unless the cat is disfigured and cannot retract its claws.  Only when cats are hunting or fighting [or sharpening] are their claws exposed.  Furthermore, most cat species walk with a rear paw landing nearly where the opposite forepaw just left.  … just like the prints on the "ruined" concrete driveway.

 The paw prints belong to a cat of some sort.

There are literally dozens of cats which roam the neighborhood at night, and they're mostly feral.  There may be bobcats as well — I don't stay up at night with infrared 'nocs to look for them.  Our own cat is nearly twenty years old and barely moves anymore.  Besides that, she was injured about ten years ago when a coyote attacked her, broke her left foreleg and mangled her paw, and she cannot retract her left forepaw claws.  Any footprints she leaves would have one paw with claws and three paws without.  None of the cat prints in the concrete have claws; ergo, apart from it not being our dogs making the catprints, it was not our cat, either.

More evidence?  A dog and coyote print has a heel pad with two rear lobes; a cat's print has a heel pad with three rear lobes.  The prints in the concrete show a heel pad with three rear lobes.

 This photo is the "desecrated" concrete slabs in question seen in a more/less typical manner by someone whose eyes are about 66" off the ground and not planted on the concrete itself — which is about what it takes to see any animal tracks:

 


This photo shows most of the hideous damage that requires $3,000 to completely redo:


 

Yes, if you squint real hard, you can see actual footprints in the smoothed-off edges of each concrete slab.  But only if you squint real hard.  And crouch down.

 This photo shows the rear-on-fore gait of the animal, eliminating dogs, coyotes and wolves as the culprit and pointing squarely at cats.



 

I had to catch the light just right to see it at all.  The prints really are nearly invisible and cannot be seen at all from most angles, which is what makes the whole visit by Mr "I want to be a good neighbor" and his self-pitying, blame-laying, broadly-hinted-at money-grubbing sob story so pathetic.  If there was a term that indicated a level of immaturity less than 'infantile' it would apply to him.

 

And this one shows the heel pad with a distinctive three-lobe rear, a rear paw landed nearly on top of the forepaw, and there are two paw prints shown:




 As is evident in this last photograph, there is more surface "damage" from air bubbles escaping the setting concrete than from animal tracks.

The unavoidable conclusion is that we were slanderously accused of being responsible for a faux-desecration which we are not responsible for, and which arguably didn't even occur.  Can anyone see damage unless they are sticking their face right down into the concrete themselves?  We couldn't.  The only reason our "good neighbor" could is because he wanted to.  And then he lashed out at the first people he could think of to falsely accuse of perpetrating it.

A very self-righteous "city" thing to do, by the way.  A very immature thing to do as well.


And … not to repay "good neighborly" malicious false accusation in kind, or anything … but just like someone who poisons the neighbors' animals with antifreeze.

Y'see, two can play your game, Mr "Good Neighbor".