Category Archives: How I think

Thoughts on Avatar

Based on the review by Christian Simpson who was moved to tears, my son and I ventured forth in the sub-freezing weather to the local cinema to view the second in the series…the way of the water.

There are many levels to this film.

Firstly, there was a mantra or prayer that all the water folk knew.

“The way of water has no beginning and no end. The sea is around you and in you. The sea is your home before your birth and after your death. The sea gives, and the sea takes. Water connects all things – life to death and darkness to light.”

~ Avatar II, the Way of the Water

It is like many of the indigenous peoples from around the world: they are connected to nature and the life force of all flora and fauna.

You can also recognize this feeling of the oneness of life in the ancient Greek text of the New Testament.

No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.

~ 1 John 4:12-13

We see how the characters relate to their world and their world, though some of it is quite scary and dangerous, it is still beautiful. It is heartbreaking to see that the first thing the people from Earth do is destroy the forest and kill all the living creatures where they want to set up their command center. They don’t see that in claiming this world and taming it, they are doing exactly the same thing they did to their home planet. They’re like locusts.

Secondly, they originally were mining “unobtanium” which is a substance they can’t obtain on Earth. It was supposed to be a source of power for the Earth as it has used up all its resources. (So, used up the sun, the water, the air… then they overcrowded the planet.) This time they are planning to colonize the planet and they’re killing the big whale-like animals for a substance in the brain that gives allllllll these people (who can afford the $80 million per vial) the ability to live forever. In all, the invaders decide they will take what they want from the primitives if they have to destroy the planet, then make their people live forever and MOVE ALL OF THEM TO THE PLANET THEY JUST DESTROYED TO MAKE THEIR MONEY. I would guess they’d move all the people that could afford to PAY to the planet, not everyone. This would leave the Earth in a mess without resources and without a way to survive.

We’re the cockroaches of the universe–we’d find a way. If these evil people leave and take their toys with them, it wouldn’t take too long for all the plant and animal species of the earth to take back their planet. Disease and starvation would reduce the human population and predatory animals would reduce it further.

The point of this rant here is that greed and short-term consciousness makes for horrendous long-term damage. LT? These locusts would already be inoculated with the life-extension substance, so they wouldn’t be able to sell any more of it. And if you’re living forever, why have kids? If they mine all the unobtanium from the floating mountains, they wouldn’t float. I would think that would be a bit unpleasant. They’d have to build workers to do the unpleasant tasks. Then they’d develop AI so you don’t have to tell your robot what to do all the time. Then the robots would take over…

Thirdly, the plot:

In Avatar, there are 3 elements: The bad guys invade the peaceful planet. The main officer is seeking revenge against the human who becomes part of the people he was supposed to evict and decides he likes the natives better and fights the officer. He has to sacrifice himself to save the population of indigenous inhabitants.

Evil invaders seek to take beautiful land and peoples and twist them into ugly landscapes and dehumanized creatures.

  1. Lord of the Rings: Sauron uses technology to mass-produce badly-made weapons and armor for his twisted and ruined creatures. He’d rather rule an ugly world populated by evil and cruel hominids than a beautiful land with amazing flora and fauna that have successfully survived millennia. For example: Orcs are former elves that have been mutated into evil, corrupt, and cannibalistic beings. Another example: The scene where they uproot an ancient tree in order to feed the forge to make (badly) weapons and armor. And last: they repair their wounded by riveting metal plates to their heads and attaching ill-fitting prostheses that look like leftovers from a body-building competition for morons.
  2. Harry Potter: Voldemort seeks to use evil to twist men’s souls so he can rule the world. He lives in a world of death but seeks every opportunity to escape death. Even when surrounded by his followers, he is still self-absorbed and relates only to his pet snake. His loyal followers do not like him much, though they worship him. As a follower of Voldemort, Snape, the headmaster after he murders Dumbledor, focuses on punishment for even the slightest infraction and imposes a slave-like or robot-like culture in the once-beautiful school. There is a decided lack of color.
  3. War of the Worlds/Signs/Independence Day: Aliens attack and try to take over the world because they used up their worlds and this looked like an easy mark. They decide to eradicate all humans.

The underdogs must confront and serve as cannon fodder in order to allow time for the hero to defeat the enemy. They go up against a superior force with bigger technology or numbers.

  1. Lord of the Rings: Aragorn, the king, exhorts his followers to fight the hoards in order to give Frodo the time to destroy the ring and therefore Sauron. There are no deserters, and they all fight until the minions turn to dust.
  2. Harry Potter: They enlist the teachers, the students, and all the statuary to fight off the evil wizards so he can find the last of the vessels containing Voldemort’s soul. They all believe in Harry and have a definite dislike for Voldemort as he likes to kill people.It costs them many lives, but they are encouraged by another July boy to fight for their values and their beliefs. The deserters are those in the school whose parents are followers of Voldemort, though one of them died in trying to kill Harry because he didn’t know how to wield his spell and it backfired.
  3. War of the Worlds/Signs/Independence Day: The common people rise up and fight hand to hand, or the brave soldiers go to save the day even though they know it’s a hopeless battle. They believe there’s a plan in place and will give their lives to save their families and communities while the plan is in effect.

The hero has to be willing to die to save the day.

  1. Lord of the Rings: The fellowship of the ring decides to fight a much larger opponent with no compunctions about self-preservation. 4 hobbits, 1 elf, 1 dwarf, 2 humans, and a wizard lead men, elves, and dwarfs, against Sauron and his uncounted minions. Our hero, Frodo, has to sacrifice himself to get the ring to the mountain to destroy it. He loses a finger and almost his life and destroys the ring, but loses a part of his soul. (And they win.)
  2. Harry Potter: Voldemort and his ADULT FOLLOWERS attack a school full of children in order to kill a small boy (who doesn’t know much magic) because of a prophecy that says some child born in July will kill Voldemort. 3 teenage children (one of them is Harry) systematically destroy the vessels containing the parts of Voldemort’s soul and then Harry is brave enough to offer himself as a sacrifice to save the school children. He gets murdered by Voldemort but doesn’t die. They destroy all the vessels and Harry gets into a duel with a fully grown, expert wizard without a nose, and beats him. (And they win.)
  3. War of the Worlds/Signs/Independence Day: Our heroes have to find the weakness in the aliens and be willing to sacrifice themselves in order to save the planet. (And they win.)

Avatar, then, is just a retelling of a Hero’s journey, but it is beautiful and creative. It is a three-dimensional portrayal of the characters and a message that isn’t preached at the audience but implied. Everyone gets a differing interpretation as to the moral of the story, but that’s ok because it speaks to the person’s inner voice and that is unique among all the individuals in the theaters.

Taking Christian Simpson on a Hike

It was just a short hike, no more than an hour round trip.

We meet at the trailhead and he says, right off the bat, “Is it OK if I come with you?” Well, this is silly; I invited him. I say, “Of course,” and we head out.

We’ve gone about 15 feet and he says, “What an amazing blue that sky is! How would you describe it?”

“Um, blue?”
“Where have you seen that color before?”
“We were in Glacier Park and it was early in the morning.”
“What made that memorable?”
“We’d arrived at the park late the night before, about 11 pm, got the tents up and had a really late supper. My kids were experts at getting the camp set up by the time we got to Glacier and it took only 15 min to get the tents up, the sleeping bags unrolled, the fire started, the ‘kitchen’ set up and the water collected from the pump. I don’t remember what we ate that night, but the next morning we had a big breakfast. It would have been about 6 AM. The sun rose about 5.”
“How did that feel?”
“Cold, but peaceful. It seemed like everything was right with the world.”
“How was this feeling more memorable than earlier in the trip?”
“We were traveling without my husband. He had to work and didn’t have paid time off. It was just me and the five kids, and it was a bit stressful. I was trying to instill in them the feeling of adventure I used to get when I went on vacation with my parents. Growing up, that was a special time for me. It took a while to feel like a united group with my youngest being 5 and the oldest being 17. But that night, without prompting, without complaining, the camp had gotten set up and the fire started in record time, and I got the feeling that we were starting to gel into a working organism.” I smiled at the memory.

We walked along for about 30 seconds in silence. Then he said, “What’s that over there?”
“Over where?”
“By that structure over there?”
“Brambles. I never go there.”
“What keeps you from going there?”
“The brambles? They poke and they scrape and get caught on your clothes.”
“What’s in the shelter?”
“I don’t know because I never go there…Brambles remember?”
“If you could find a way around the brambles, would you explore it?”
“I guess. I might, I might not.”
“Let’s go look around the brambles.”
“Oh, all right.”
“When was the last time you were at the brambles?”
“I wasn’t very old. It was late in the day and when I got home, I was dirty and disheveled and crying. I remember my mom trying to pull all the thorns out and comb them out of my hair. It seemed like it took forever!”
“They hurt?”
“Yes, and I’d never seen brambles like that before. I hadn’t planned on going there, but my curiosity pulled me. I didn’t get very far and they scratched and poked and caught in my hair and tore my clothes and I couldn’t find my way out. I was by myself so I was scared.”
“How do these compare to the ones you saw when you were little?”
“OH! They’re raspberries! I didn’t know that before! They seem smaller. I can see over the top. The thing about raspberries, you bite them and the seeds get stuck between your teeth. But if you don’t bite down all the way, you can squish them with your tongue.”
“How did you learn that?”
“I don’t exactly remember, it could have been that girl scout trip I went on…”
“How did you find the door to the building?”
“I didn’t. I couldn’t see over the top so I just went straight in.”
“There wasn’t a path?”
“There might have been. I wasn’t looking for one.”
“What would have been different if you’d found a path into the structure?”
“I suppose it might have led to a door, a way through the brambles. Somebody living in the building would have had to have a way to get past the brambles to get to the door, I suppose.”
“Where would we find a path?”
“We could circle the building and see if we can see a door, and the path would be leading away from the door.”
“What do you want to do if you find the path?”
“See if someone lives there?”

We walk around the building and find the door and sure enough, there’s a path and a fence with a gate. It isn’t locked so we go in. We knock on the door and a big burly guy answers the door. He looks like he could star in a western. He greets us with a big smile and a “Howdy!” It smells glorious in the cabin. Something is cooking. He has a wood stove in the middle of the room, a dining table near the wall, and handmade chairs. There are fresh flowers in the window well. He grabs a towel and pulls out a pie. He says he was out hunting this morning and saw us come into the tourist area. He had canned some raspberries and just threw them into a pie.

Now, this is weird, we’ve only been hiking for about 10 min…oh, hmm. We’ve already been hiking for an hour? Where did the time go? It must be subjective on this hike! In a blink, the pie is cut up and put on metal plates like you’d get in a camping set. Our host tells us about the area and some stories, and then he puts some raspberries and blackberries in a box so they won’t squish when we carry them.

I decide that I want to head back to the trailhead and so we head back up to where the cabin path meets the main trail. Every few steps, Christian is asking, “What’s under that rock?” and we have to look! Sometimes it’s worms, sometimes it’s roly-polies, we found an arrowhead under one and discovered that one of the rocks was a corn grinder. Then he’d say, “Is that water I hear?” and we’d have to go see the waterfall and the cute little stream.

So, we didn’t get even a quarter of the way to the end of the hike, and yet uncovered so much fascinating and beautiful and curious stuff. The distance we traveled in 1 hour should have taken no more than 10 minutes, and instead of finishing the hike, we took two hours to discover the area. But I had been on this path countless times and had never seen any of this stuff. This trail was just a way to get from the trailhead to the destination where we’d look and say, “Now ain’t that pretty!” take some pictures and then turn around and come back. I had missed all these interesting things, and I’d never met the guy in the cabin.

The purpose of the hike is not to ARRIVE somewhere, but to enjoy the journey. The journey is part of a process, and when you stop (because you never finish!) you have become more. More aware, more conscious, more curious, more adventurous, and more brave.

If you have a coach, you are giving the grand tour of your inner world, taking a hike with someone who’s never seen it before. If you have a really good coach, he asks you about everything, including some things you have never explored. You learn things about yourself; you clarify your thoughts and feelings; you keep what you like and discard what doesn’t suit you. You explore like a child and you grow into a much better person.

I would take Christian Simpson on any hike again!

Unintentional consequences

See Gizmos.

I got the Garmin watch. It’s a touch screen. It has more features and benefits than any watch should have. Well, there are always unintentional consequences. It’s connected to my phone. So when I’m getting Facebook notifications, texts, and phone calls (especially spam), and mail notifications, I check my watch because it buzzes.

To do this, I lift my wrist and look at the watch…

So my Garmin thinks I am walking and I get step credit! I’ll take it!

The secret Ingredient!

I love chili season! The warm red sauce, the beans and meat, the spice…

Little known fact: Mexican chocolate adds a bit of cinnamon. The cinnamon oil, not just the stick. It’s quite spicy. If you add some to your chili, it gives it some heat but not the same as pepper heat. Then to bring out the flavor of the meat and the tomato sauce, you can add a bit of cloves and ginger. If you want it exotic, add just a touch of allspice and maybe nutmeg.


I put pumpkin spice in my chili! And I liked it! Abomination I tell you!

How to get away with murder on any Police Procedural Show

You know how this works. You’ve gotten to the end of the line with this jerk. He stole your company. He stole your wife. He brutally raped you or a friend of yours. He’s ruined your reputation. He cheated on you…whatever it was–he deserved to die. And you killed him. You’re guilty as sin.

You cleaned up the scene as best as you could, wiped down all the surfaces, cleaned up all your blood, and repaired the damage to the furniture and the walls. It won’t make any difference. Somewhere, maybe by the litter box, under the sink with the cleaning supplies, or in the bathroom, the Crime Scene Investigators will find the single hair, the drop of snot, a single teardrop that will give them your DNA. They will come to your house and send in the lab geeks to ask you questions. They will slam down a folder as thick as a doctoral dissertation and tell you all the evidence they have.

You left a single pine needle from the Pinus sylvestris which, though prolific in the area, is only found in one place within the 7-mile radius of the crime scene and it’s in your backyard.

“Confess you Dastardly Murderer!” they will say with Shakespearian glee.

This is when you do it. Here are your lines (with direction).

*Stand up and slam your hand down on the table. “YES! I did it!”

This might seem counterintuitive. You just confessed to murder, after all. This, however, is where it gets fun. At this point, you make up reasons why you killed him.

“He made fun of my favorite LOL cat meme!”
“He spray-painted his name on the bridge my father built.” Your father was a musician.
“His dog pooped on my lawn every morning!” He didn’t own a dog.
“He called my wife incessantly!”
“He heckled me at the Stand-Up Comedy Club.”

It doesn’t matter as long as you don’t tell them your real motive. They’ll figure that out later.

Then you describe your brutal murder of the victim in gruesome detail. But you have to give all the wrong details. Make sure you’re crying or yelling while you do this. Emotion sells. You pushed him off a building, so instead, you tell them you slit his throat, shot him straight in the heart, tied him to the garbage truck, or snipped his brake lines. After you confess, you ask, as innocently as possible, if your picture will be in the paper. Then you just wait. Do not giggle…look as guilty as possible. Evil masterminds will have discovered this trick and their whole modus operandi is to make the cops (especially the CSI) aware of how feeble their powers of deduction are. They tend to gloat and rub their hands together evilly when they think no one is watching. They may even smile or laugh. You are not an evil mastermind. Your modus operandi is to not get caught.

Even if the detectives DO come up with a motive, and they discover you had the opportunity, they will dismiss you because they believe you’ve made a false confession. They will look for someone you might be protecting. But since the only one you’re protecting is you, this is not your concern.

Most importantly, NEVER RETURN TO THE SCENE OF THE CRIME! Remember that the total time from the discovery of the murder to your release will be between 24 and 48 hours. Then their department will get backed up and they’ll forget about you. Now you can go on your merry way.

Who knows? You might even see your crime reenacted on “Unsolved Mysteries.” Do not invite your friends over…

Where are the boundaries?

I had a nice man come to my door seeking my vote for him as a member of the school board.

His stances were printed on his handout:

  1. Fight for parental rights and transparency in our curriculums
  2. Set high expectations and place the focus on academic excellence
  3. Support school choice and competition
  4. Work to keep Critical Race Theory, Comprehensive Sex Education, and other destructive agendas out of our classrooms
  5. Use your (the taxpayer) tax dollars wisely, and fight to cut spending and lower the tax levy
  6. Fight against mask and vaccine mandates


  1. The school system which includes teachers and administrative personnel act “in loco parentis” or in place of the parents. I have seen what happens when some parents decide that they don’t need to allow teachers or administrators that oversight and interfere with the smooth transactions of education. One pulled her child out of line and spanked her child because she looked over to the window to see her mom and little brother and sister looking in. “That will teach you to pay attention!!!” she screamed. One parent was calling all the teachers for her little darling and bawling them out for giving him too much homework and then flunking him anyway. One guy felt it his duty to supervise recess and keep bullies from getting punished. “They’re just having a little fun. They’re not hurting anyone…” A group of parents decided which books in the library were to be burned and broke in and vandalized the room and damaged many of the books that weren’t on the list simply because they looked suspicious.
  2. The state school board already sets expectations in the form of standardized tests. Who is responsible for academic excellence? Isn’t the student? There is little a teacher can do to make sure each and every student reaches the same level of excellence because of “No Child Left Behind,” and the threat of loss of funding should the students fall short. There are no requirements made of students such as turning in projects and homework or studying for tests. So who bears the brunt of this expectation? The teachers? This is why the pool of teachers is getting smaller.
  3. You can’t always get enrolled in the school of your choice because of classroom size limitations. And if you do choose a school outside your district, they are not required to provide transportation. The priorities of the school locations were to provide neighborhoods with neighborhood schools, where the students knew most of the other students. How do your tax dollars get to the school you send your kid to? You cannot designate the funds according to your choice of schools. Parents of children from outside of your district are not contributing to your school.
  4. Critical Race Theory is an approach to discrimination, not coursework. Comprehensive Sex Education is not mandated in this candidate’s state. I am not sure what other destructive agendas he might be referring to unless he’s going to go back to Darwinism vs. Intelligent Design or Creationism.
  5. To ensure good education, you have to empower teachers, not disempower them. You have to pay them a living wage. You have to provide materials for the classes as well as maintain the physical building. Cutting spending–where? Lowering the tax levy–how?
  6. Mask and Vaccine mandates protect the children and teachers from getting sick. Doesn’t the health of everyone in the school system have any meaning?

Now to be fair, if you go to his landing page, he has a lot fewer stupid stances. Keeping political agenda out of the schools? Good. Attracting excellent teachers? Good. How? He doesn’t say. But when you get into his site, he goes into indoctrination based on Christian ideals. Yay! But that would be good for parochial schools, not public schools. We cannot TEACH the children what they are: children of God who are loved unconditionally, but we can show them. His tag line is Education–Not indoctrination, then he wants to indoctrinate students in regard to our supremacy as a country and morality as a people. Morality should be taught in church and in the home. Sex ed shouldn’t have to be taught in school, but because parents have abdicated that responsibility, it needs to be taught somewhere.

I dunno. It seems to me that people are CRYING OUT TO GOD! And then hoping he doesn’t answer and just waves his magic wand and everything we hate disappears. What if we’re the ones that disappear? Whoops.

What we, as Christians, need to do is ACT LIKE CHRISTIANS! We are trying to substitute an outside influence on behaviors to codify and conform all the behavior so everyone knows what’s right and what isn’t. EVERYONE ALREADY KNOWS what’s right and wrong. We don’t have to spell everything out. It’s the law that’s written on our hearts: Love our neighbors as ourselves is one of 2 that are there. Love the Lord your God is the 1st, and we tend to love ourselves more than anything and despise those that are not us. There are more divisions every day. Listen to God in your heart. Love all and treat all with respect and not judgment. The government should have no say in moral issues. The government should butt out of the schools.

Whenever we say, “There ought to be a law…” we take away autonomy, resourcefulness, creativity, and responsibility from all. We are, in effect, saying, “No constituent has the thinking ability, the consciousness, or the awareness to conduct his life as he sees fit. We must provide that for him.”

We provide our children the guidance and the moral basis that becomes their belief systems for when they become adults. But once they’re on their own, we allow them to make the mistakes, because they represent exactly what we have given them and have to make choices as to what behaviors, thoughts, and attitudes serve them best, and what don’t. When we step in and correct them, and tell them what to do, we are basically telling them they are incompetent at living as adults. Would you try if you thought your parents believed you were incapable of being an adult?

I will not be voting for this candidate.

Let me help…

I hate this. I wanted to get into my bank account to check my balance because I was out of the country. Good idea right?

I did NOT get international calling access. Bad mommy. Why would I need 500 texts from people showing me their breakfasts or giving me excuses why they didn’t practice this week? I turned my phone to Airplane Mode and left it there. But I signed into wifi at the hotels I stayed at.

In order to see my bank balance, I had to get into the Banking App which doesn’t use face recognition, put in my super-secret password, and then wait for my verification code which…you guessed it, is TEXTED to me. Read previous paragraph. Well, that won’t do. But there is an option! Yes, you can have them call you. Hmmmm. If they allowed facial recognition or, what… biometric recognition on my PHONE instead of my DESKTOP, that might mitigate the need for me to spend all that money to use this feature 3 times in 2 weeks. But no.

So in traveling all over the UK, after the 1st week, I had no idea what my balance was.

Do you want your account to be secure?
yes, that would be nice.
Let me help you. Now you have double verification!
oooh! neat! how do I access my account now?
Wait…you wanted ACCESS? That would not be secure!
um…I have my password.
Well, the 2nd verification requires a phone with a plan that allows for international calls.
I can’t get international calls.
See how safe it is?


So now my account is so safe the only ones that can get into it are the bank and my creditors. Argh.

Let me be the tactical adviser!

I have never fired a weapon in my life. I have never gone to firearms training, tactical training, or strategic training either for the military or police…because I am NOT military or police. BUT I watch lots of procedural police shows.

I was watching one where the Texas Ranger was in the house of his paramour who happened to be a bad guy. Her cohorts broke down the door and started shooting with their fully automatic weapons. In the blink of an eye, our hero tips back the couch he was on to give him cover. I HAVE had upholstery training. Couches, the good ones, have oak frames. They have springs wired together for support, hog hair to keep the springs from damaging the filling, and cotton batting for comfort. The cheap couches have pine frames, springs of less tensile strength, and foam rubber for comfort. You can tip a good couch but only if you are strong and have help because oak is heavy. The high tensile strength of the springs might serve to deflect bullets, but the batting and the hog hair would not. Since our hero tipped the couch himself, we must assume it was a cheaper model. (After all, if you’re going to have to do more than one take on the fight scene, you don’t want to use an expensive couch!) The pine frame would be useless against most bullets, and we know that the manufacturers will not use much wood in their creations. They may use 3/4 -inch plywood to support the springs.

Our poor hero, hiding behind fluff and pine, should be Swiss Cheese. Our bad guys are standing in the doorway firing fully automatic weapons and hitting the wall behind the couch, the end tables, the lamps. They must have gone to the Storm Trooper Training Facility. With the couch on its back, one strafing from arm to arm of the couch and close to the floor would take him out.

But noooooooooooooooooooooo.

The next thing I noticed was that the intruders didn’t intrude. They broke down the door and started firing willy nilly into the living room. Then they stopped firing so our hero could get some shots in with his little handgun. It was a cute little silver deal and looked like it could shoot water or light your cigarette. So he’s firing over the back of the couch without looking at his target because, well, “Don’t stick your head up to see your opponents if they are shooting automatic weapons at you!” He has no idea where his bullets are going. But he knows that when he fires, they don’t. He doesn’t use this break in their attack to find a better hiding place. Both intruders had automatic weapons–both firing simultaneously. They couldn’t see their target, but they knew he was behind the couch. They also knew he was the only target in the apartment that was armed. They didn’t come into the apartment! The door is a bottleneck. It makes them stationary targets. If one had put down suppressing fire (into the couch) the other could have entered and advanced on the good guy. Then he could fire from a different angle to distract the good guy while his partner entered the room to flank him.

But noooooooooooooooooooooo.

Of course, if the good guy had moved from behind the couch to a new position, he could have picked them off as they came into the room because they’d still be shooting at the couch. I’m shaking my head.

Next scenario:

The detective and his partner are running down a guy who was instrumental in a murder and they know he’s the only one that can tell them who the mastermind behind the murder is. They chase him into an open space and lo and behold, there are 8-10 other cops there, weapons drawn. “Give it up! You got NOWHERE to go! You’re surrounded!”

Indeed, he is standing in a circle of cops…a circle. None of them has taken cover. Our intrepid detective sees the panic in his target’s eyes turn to determination. He is going to commit suicide by cop. The detective is telling him to get on his knees and the guy does not comply. He walks toward him, trying to talk him out of his decision, and at one point tells the other officers to lower their weapons. They are lowered but not holstered as is protocol. The target slowly moves his hand from above his head to his waistband where his weapon is. WE do not know if he’s going to drop the weapon or draw on the officers. Those officers behind him do not have the closed-captioned monitor to observe his actions, they just see him dropping one hand.

Among the first rules you would learn in firearms safety is to not only pay attention to your target but to scope out what is beyond your target. You cannot control the bullet after it leaves your gun. Remember that the target is in a circle of cops? So even though those cops behind the target cannot see what he’s doing, they fire on the suspect. If the suspect had gone down quickly instead of acting, the 2nd and 3rd bullets would have hit our detective and his partner. Because he is acting, even though he has been hit in the lung, the liver, and the heart, he remains standing and slowly crumples to his back. You can see that the bullets have traveled through and through his torso because he has both entry and exit wounds. Where did the bullets go after they pierced him? Into the cops on the other side of the circle? Oops

While the detective was slowly walking toward our suspect and talking him down, why wasn’t another cop walking up behind him to subdue him while the suspect was distracted? Oh, because if the suspect had gone for the gun, the detective would have fired and gotten both the officer and the suspect.

In a press defense in basketball, you get two people to stop the progress of the offensive player by trapping him in a corner or near the side of the court. If the offensive player with the ball is in center court, you have to put three people on him to stop him. In a situation where our suspect was in the center of an area, he has too many options. You want to “herd” him to a point where the only option is to surrender, you put him up against a wall or a corner.

Of course, every cop that faces this situation knows that if you speak in logical terms, the suspect will acknowledge your wisdom and make a rational decision. It’s like arguing with your toddler on the benefits of sleep and expecting him to bow to your deductions and accept your conclusion. HA! The detectives all start with, “You don’t want to do this! We can work something out…” And every time… they go for the gun and either aim it at the police or blow their brains out. OF COURSE, THEY WANT TO DO THIS! It’s the easy, quick answer.

You have to make an emotional appeal. The suspect is in full-on emotional panic. Logic will have NO effect. “How do you think your loved ones would prefer you–dead or alive? Do you think the outcome is hopeless? If I could give you an alternative, would you at least consider it? Officer Smith, could you come up and relieve our suspect of his gun, please? The rest of the officers, make sure there is nobody behind the suspect so if shots need to be fired, there are no collateral damages. I promise you will not be hurt if you follow my suggestions.”

It doesn’t make good TV or Movies, but it might in real life. Any police officers out there, please look at this and see if I’ve misjudged the situation. If I have, PLEASE enlighten me!

The coolest arrest I’ve ever seen was when this kid was robbing a fast food joint. He and his partner tied up the manager and the rest of the crew and they walked out into the parking lot. Apparently, my call to the police had been heeded and they came in without lights and siren and parked away from the building, blocking the exits. That way, no new customers came in and our thieves would not get out easily. They were unaware of the circumstances outside the building. One of the officers was behind the dumpster where the thieves had parked their car, and one was stationed at the freezer door. The kids sauntered out of the building, and the policeman behind the door walked up behind them with his gun in one kid’s back and his finger to the other’s back, and said quietly in his deep, deep voice, “You are under arrest.” One of them peed his pants. “Now boys, get down on your knees and lace your fingers behind your head.” The officer’s partner revealed himself, weapon leveled, and moved toward the boys. The backup police helped gather them up and read them their rights and put them in the car. They took the money as evidence. Then the one with the deep voice went in and made sure the manager and the crew were ok, and he stayed to ask questions.

The Fall of mice

So this really happened. I thought it was some sort of dystopian story with a moral that indicated that capitalism is bad or socialism is bad, and followed by a lot of “Yada yada” nonsense proving that economic models rarely live up to the hype.

Instead…I came to the conclusion that society will be healthy if everyone has a part in it. And it can’t be a token part, it must be a part that is respected and treated fairly. Then I looked at the economic model. The distribution of resources in a capitalist economy is based on the economic value of contributions to society. If you provide a very rare commodity, you are compensated with more value. If your contribution is small and common, you get less value for your time, effort, and investment. What do Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk contribute to the economy? What do college football coaches contribute? What do nurses contribute? How can you compare the value of those contributions in society? Apples and oranges.

In a socialist or communist economy, everyone’s contributions are combined for the good of the society, and resources are distributed in a way that everyone gets what is needed. In a small village, you have one Shaman, one healer, a few hunters, a few gatherers, some to prepare the daily meals, some to help provide and maintain shelter, some to help and provide protection, and someone that passes on wisdom from one generation to the next. Everyone commits to the “tribe” and has a job of some sort that they offer to the tribe. The person passing on the wisdom may do that every day, as will those that prepare meals. The hunters may not go out every day, and neither may the gatherers. Those that provide and maintain shelter may not have to do that on an everyday basis either. The healer may not have patients every day, nor the shaman. Situations could arise where people could get upset sharing food they prepared to people who do not appear to have to work every day. If hunters are unsuccessful, the whole tribe goes hungry. If the healer is unsuccessful, people in the tribe die. Jealousy sticks up its ugly head.

But looking at this Universe 25 experiment, it seems obvious to me that the control of the resources is at the center of this experiment. Mice are not capitalists or socialists, they are scavengers. There was plenty of food. There was plenty of nesting material. There were no predators. There was no need to fight over resources. In fact, though there were territorial skirmishes, no one mouse could control all the outlets to the food. Adult males with no status in the group withdrew. Adult females with no status went to the beauty shop, and they preened themselves endlessly. At the same time, they rejected any type of mating behavior. None of these withdrawn mice had any role in the colony. Some of the mice became aggressive and territorial and that gave them a perceived place in this society. Some of the female mice were prolific but didn’t provide for their pups. In fact, there were some that forgot they were mothers! Others actually killed and ate their offspring. It is not the economic model that is to blame; it is the nature of our relationships to the society we belong to and the members we share it with.

But…like all the mice, we have adequate food and materials needed to live and live well by human standards.

When sin came into the world, it affected all of life, even mice. I can picture Moyshe Mouse leading his fellows across the creek on dry land while the Pharoah Mouse sends his minions to bring them back…

In this season of Advent, our concentration is on repentance. Live in a way that shows our gratitude for being forgiven for our fallen nature. Do not be greedy. Do not seek for something you have not earned. If you see someone in need and you have what they don’t, share it. Do your work to the very best of your ability. Treat everyone with respect. We don’t have to be mice.

How not to watch Netflix

Never EVER watch Supernatural or Flash/Arrow/Super Girl at the same time as Criminal Minds or any other police procedural.

Something weird happens and someone dies the 1st 20 seconds of Supernatural and Criminal Minds. Bam! Both Sam and Dean show up pretending to be FBI, and the BAU who are actually FBI show up to the scene.

S & D: Did you smell sulfur? Cold spots? Black eyes? Did the victim have any enemies?

BAU: Were there any witnesses? Fingerprints? Foot prints? Did the victim have any enemies?

Witness…the SO of the victim. I heard her in the bathroom screaming! *sobs* The door wouldn’t open as hard as I tried.

S & D: Note the rosary she always carried is missing. Note there are no locks on the doors.

BAU: Note that the victim suffocated in the tub, but was not drowned. Note there are no locks on the doors.

S & D: Get EMF readings from the room. Vengeful spirit. Begin to take EMF readings from other parts of the farm where the murders occurred. Know the owner personally and eliminate him as a suspect.

BAU: Suspect owner immediately and arrest him and question him thoroughly. (BTW, they don’t torture the suspect or throw holy water on him.)

S & D: Find drawings on the wall indicating one of the children in the home was involved in a terrible accident and the mother died in the burning car. They cannot burn and salt the bones. They burn the child’s toy. Bullies get injured in lawn mower incident.

BAU: Notes accidents continue to happen on the farm even though owner is in custody. They inspect the new incidents and do not discover any causal relationship to the other murders. Dismiss new incidents as unrelated.

S & D: Vengeful spirit believes S & D are threatening the child and attacks the child’s guitar teacher and S & D. Dean tells child to demand Ghost Mom to leave and that he will be ok. Spirit returns to pre-dead self and smiles and then flitters off into the after life. (Question: Does the good mom’s evil spirit that committed 2 murders and an attempted murder without remorse or repentance go to heaven?) Crime Solved.

BAU: Finds no foreign matter or evidence in either of the murder scenes, and since the only fingerprints and physical evidence belong to the owner, the owner goes to trial for double homicide. As an ex-convict he never gets out of prison and his creepy home for boys is sold at auction and bulldozed to make a discount mall. Crime Solved.