Monday, 18 February 2013

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The first forty-five were mistakes, the forty-sixth an accident The headline at the LA Times reads "Torrance neighborhood edgy after mistaken shootings," and the phrase "mistaken shootings" refers to the fact that there have been multiple incidents in which Los Angeles and Torrance police officers have opened fired on people who don't remotely resemble proud cop-killer Christopher Jordan Dorner: two Latina women delivering papers for the Times and a white man sneaking in a morning surf. But calling these incidents "mistaken shootings" downplays both the extent of the mistake and the severity of the shootings. Consider the state of the truck driven by the Times employees: I'm not sure what I find more disturbing: the fact that two members of the LAPD put at least forty-six bullets in the back of that truck or that the barrage only wounded the two women in the truck. Not that I wish them further injury, mind you, only that I'm uncomfortable with the level of incompetence such "marksmanship" seems to suggest, because the police are out in terrible force and they are angry. If you live where I do, you don't need to watch the news conferences or know that over 50 members of the force (and their families) are in protective custody to notice, and feel unsettled by, the heightened police presence in Riverside and Orange and LA counties. I literally can't go to the doughnut store without having to stand behind four grumpy sleep-deprived cops.* I understand why the 15 and 91 were crawling with police vehicles last Thursday, as Dorner shot the officers in Corona a few miles from my apartment, but given that the search is now centered around Big Bear, I'm not sure why the continued police presence is necessary. Especially when, since the "mistaken shootings" that happened last week, people who drive pickup trucks of any make and model are being encouraged to find alternative means of transportation until Dorner is dead or custody.** Because you never know when an angry sleep-addled cop who can barely hit the back of an SUV will open fire on you because of who you could be, but clearly aren't. Having a standing army of incompetent shots occupy a few counties may not be the best way to calm civilian nerves. This strikes me as generally true, but even more so when the only stated targets are cops and the only victims unrelated to law enforcement personnel have been shot, mistakenly, by law enforcement personnel. *By which I mean, when I went to the doughnut store this morning, I had to stand behind four grumpy sleep-deprived cops. **This despite the fact that the burnt husk of the truck in question was located on Saturday night.
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It's the lines! She hates the lines! It is 1 p.m. SEK will be spending the next five hours in his office helping STUDENTS revise their essays. At no point will there not be a line of STUDENTS outside his door. STUDENT #1: I have a class at 1 p.m. Can I just drop this off, have you comment on it, and pick it up after class? SEK: I’ll try to have it done by then, but six of your classmates are waiting in line, and I have to get to them first. STUDENT #1: See you at 2 p.m. SEK spends the next hour in conference with the STUDENTS who waited patiently outside his office. It is 2 p.m. STUDENT #1: I’m here to pick up my paper. SEK: I’m sorry, I haven’t had a chance to get to it yet. Do you have any more classes today? STUDENT #1: No. SEK: So if you can just wait, I’ll get to you as soon as I finish talking with your classmates. STUDENT #1: I’ll just come back at 3 p.m. See you then. SEK spends the next hour in conference with the STUDENTS who waited patiently outside his office. It is 3 p.m. STUDENT #1: I’m here to pick up my paper. SEK: I’m sorry, I haven’t had a chance to get to it yet. Since you don’t have any more classes, maybe it’d be best to take your place in the queue and we can talk as soon as I’m done with your classmates. STUDENT #1: I’ll just come back at 4 p.m. See you then. SEK spends the next hour in conference with the STUDENTS who waited patiently outside his office. It is 4 p.m. STUDENT #1: I’m here to pick up my paper. SEK: I’m sorry, I haven’t had a chance to get to it yet. If you’ll just— STUDENT #1: Come back at 5 p.m.? Yes. See you then. SEK spends the next hour in conference with the STUDENTS who waited patiently outside his office. It is 5 p.m. STUDENT #1: I’m here to pick up my paper. SEK: Have a seat, there’s only one person in line at the moment so it’ll just be a— STUDENT #1: Fine. I’ll come back at 6 p.m. SEK spends the next hour in conference with the last of the STUDENTS who waited patiently outside his office. It is 6 p.m. SEK has just finished what he thought was his final conference of the day. STUDENT #2 is packing up her stuff and preparing to leave. STUDENT #1: I’m here to pick up my paper. SEK: Good timing. STUDENT #2 and I just finished so— STUDENT #1: I’m here to pick up my paper. SEK: We can go over it right now. STUDENT #1: It’s too late. SEK: I’m more than happy to stay a few extra minutes and look over your paper with you. STUDENT #1: No, it’s too late. Give me my paper back. SEK: ? STUDENT #1: ! SEK: I can send...

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