Breakin’ curfew.

Mama went out last night. Mama did not get hammered, but it was midnight before she walked through the door, and friends, I am no night owl these days. These are the wages of having 25-year-old friends.

Yes, that was the occasion: A 25-year-old’s birthday. “Congratulations,” I told him. “Your brain is now fully mature.” Then we destroyed a few brain cells.

We went to the Temple Bar, probably one of the last — I’m growing to hate this word, but it works — authentic bars of the old Cass Corridor, now rebranded Midtown and movin’ on up. The door has a buzzer to keep the worst of the riffraff out, although some get in anyway. There’s a bar dog, named Jameson. And last night he had a few friends in for a playdate; their owners/foster parents were wearing Detroit Dog Rescue T-shirts and having a few pops at the bar while four sizable dogs galumphed around, play-fighting and mostly moving too fast for photos:


After the visiting dogs left, the other bar pet came out for a visit. Here she is with the birthday boy:


It was a nice evening. The internet jukebox had the Wutang Clan and Warren Zevon. Ain’t nothin’ wrong with that.

So here we are on hump day, and here’s some bloggage for you:

Via Hank, a nifty piece of explanatory journalism on a heavy-metal drummer. Yes, explanatory:

At what tempo will a series of sonic events fail to register as a beat? Our conception of rhythm roughly corresponds to the span of the human heart rate, and Fox is curious about what happens on those margins. He says he’s been spending his free time trying to build the stamina to drum at the speed of a hum or a drone.

Just a very enjoyable read, which you’ll want before you plunge into the bummer of the day, yet another police shooting, this one in South Carolina. I am eager to hear the justifications that will be offered for this one. I’m also interested to hear what media gurus say about the increasing number of these incidents, as cell-phone cameras improve and improve and improve. I recall when J.C. and I first talked about bystander videos, back when maybe one in a thousand people might be carrying a small video camera when news is breaking. There was a helicopter crash where two people in the crowd were so equipped, and CNN was able to cut between angles. Then everyday digital cameras had video, and then they had better video, and so on.

I imagine the reaction will be something like this: Who you gonna believe? Me, or your lying video?

Forty-six comments on my story yesterday on road repair! Hardly a record, but it gives you an idea of how strongly people feel about this issue here. I was telling the table last night, when I was talking to the guy quoted in the lead, and he was describing the pavement disaster that totaled his Honda, I was thinking, “Gee, this almost sounds like getting hit by an IED.” I asked, “What did that feel like?” He replied, “Like an IED,” my soul smiled, and I was happy. A good quote is a simple pleasure to a journalist.

Happy Wednesday, all. No more late nights for me for a while.

Posted at 9:38 am in Uncategorized |

30 responses to “Breakin’ curfew.”

  1. Jolene said on April 8, 2015 at 10:39 am

    Perhaps, since the cop has already been charged with murder, we will be spared excuses for this shooting. Hard to imagine, though, what is going through the officer’s head when he fires eight times at a fleeing suspect whose original offense was a broken taillight. I think policemen must just get mad when somebody fails to follow their directives immediately, and the anger undermines their ability to think about what constitutes a rational response to the ostensible crime.

    Love the photo of the dog disappearing. Agree that it sounds like a fun evening. I love watching dogs play. Once I left my dog with a friend who had a three-story house and a doggie door that led to a walled-in patio. When I took him home at the end of the day, he was so tired from chasing his doggie friend up and down and in and out all day that, when it was time to go upstairs at my house, he just sat at the bottom of the stairs and looked at me. I swear he was saying, “Must I?”

    966 chars

  2. MarkH said on April 8, 2015 at 11:19 am

    Counter to your statement, Nance, I’ve been scouring all the news shows this morning, and no one, I mean NO ONE, is offering justification or support for the SC police officer. Quite the opposite. In fact his initial attorney withdrew from the case once the video went public. As you and jc may have discussed, before common carry of video equipment, how much of this has gone on, just unrecorded. Are we just now discovering how rampant these unjustified police shootings have always been? Anyway, there’s no getting around this one.

    534 chars

  3. adrianne said on April 8, 2015 at 11:29 am

    Yes, the video doesn’t lie, but you need to read what the police dept. was saying about the shooting before they knew the video was out there. They thought they could get away with it. They can’t anymore.

    204 chars

  4. alex said on April 8, 2015 at 11:29 am

    Looks like Fox & Friends et al. are using this one to pretend that Ferguson and other incidents were different. (But don’t be surprised if they aren’t badmouthing the victim and insinuating that he was deserving of his fate as this story progresses.)

    390 chars

  5. Jeff Borden said on April 8, 2015 at 11:30 am

    The use of police departments as revenue generators is a terrible, terrible development as we learned in Ferguson, where an enormous amount of the annual income came from fines that increased in value if not paid quickly. I’ll wager the original intent of the traffic stop for the broken tail light had zero to do with safety and everything with writing a nice, fat ticket for the North Charleston coffers.

    A few weeks ago, while driving on Broadway in Rogers Park enroute to teaching at Loyola, I was pulled over by an unmarked Chicago police car and its two occupants. My offense? I had a clear plastic cover over my license plate, a reasonable precaution in a state that issues new plates every time Halley’s Comet comes around. The officers were polite enough –I am an almost 64-year-old white guy and I was wearing a suit and tie– and they gave me a ticket for a non-moving violation, which shaved $15 off the fine. Still, it was $60. And I was late for class. And pissed off.

    So, in South Carolina, a man is dead. A police officer likely will go to prison. And for a fucking broken taillight.

    1106 chars

  6. Jolene said on April 8, 2015 at 11:55 am

    Not only that, Jeff, but Walter Scott’s relatives have speculated that he ran away because he had been arrested in the past for failure to pay child support and failure to appear in court for proceedings related to those charges. So, there may have been a pattern of using the courts to generate money without solving any problems that helped to bring about this incident.

    Am not saying, of course, that Scott shouldn’t be held accountable for his child support, but, if the guy didn’t have any money, it’s not clear that repeated arrests will do anything to solve the problem.

    Jeff (tmmo), I’d be interested in your opinion on this issue. What is usually done with people who fail to pay child support in your area? What do you think should be done?

    756 chars

  7. brian stouder said on April 8, 2015 at 12:21 pm

    Back in the day, I paid child support. I believe that was for about 14 years – and I was never (ever) late, or short.

    But I was always lucky, in that I’ve never been out of work. And as Jeff points out, I have always taken for granted that the police will act a certain way toward me.

    That is to say, I’m not on their radar – as a bald-headed white guy driving a 4-door (or a minivan).

    Aside from that, one of the more striking things about that awful video, is that the person who produced it had the courage (or the white-guy immunity?) to stand there and take it all in.

    I think I’d have been flat on the ground, in all honesty….

    and the video-maker stays on it, even at the risk of drawing the police officers’ attention.

    It is an odd echo of Abraham Zapruder

    791 chars

  8. Deborah said on April 8, 2015 at 12:23 pm

    A friend of LB’s was given a ticket for parking in a disabled spot. She says she was in the spot next to the disabled spot but because of the other cars parked in the adjoining spots her car was close to the edge of the disabled spot. The fine is $500 and if it isn’t paid within 2 weeks, it goes up to $1,000. That seems excessive. This is an example of extortion by the police dept. for fees to fill the city coffers if you ask me.

    433 chars

  9. Jolene said on April 8, 2015 at 12:35 pm

    They impose those high fees re parking in spots reserved for the disabled on purpose. They are frequently vacant, which encourages people to take them, rendering them unavailable when disabled people do show up. So the fine needs to be sufficient to deter an otherwise attractive behavior. Perhaps if your friend goes to court, explains the situation, and is apologetic, the judge will reduce the fine.

    402 chars

  10. Deborah said on April 8, 2015 at 12:49 pm

    LB’s friend is going to contest it, she asked Walgreens (where it happened) if she could look at their surveillance video and use it somehow to prove her case. The part that is excessive to me is jacking the fine up to $1,000 if it’s not paid in 2 weeks. It would be hard for lots of people to come up with $500 that quickly. Lots of people live paycheck to paycheck and $500 extra could be impossible.

    402 chars

  11. Jolene said on April 8, 2015 at 12:54 pm

    Yes, I agree. Would be better to have a 30-day rather than two-week period before raising the fine.

    99 chars

  12. alex said on April 8, 2015 at 1:19 pm

    Wow, Brian, I had no idea that you had other children.

    54 chars

  13. Kirk said on April 8, 2015 at 1:24 pm

    The (Secret) Life of Brian

    26 chars

  14. Julie Robinson said on April 8, 2015 at 2:42 pm

    Dzhokhar Tsarnaev found guilty, but the real suspense will be if he gets the death penalty.

    91 chars

  15. brian stouder said on April 8, 2015 at 3:20 pm

    Alex – indeed, I was a genuinely ridiculous young fellow.

    Marriage #1 literally lasted about 5 months; Wife #1 I will tell you about over an icy cold Diet Pepsi, someday. Suffice it to say, I could never keep up with her.

    Wife #2 – and the mother of my oldest son – is a perfectly fine person, who met the wrong guy at the wrong time.

    Wife #3 is Pam, who married way-down(!) – and allowed me to marry way up, 22 years ago. I think she’ll keep me on retainer

    467 chars

  16. Dexter said on April 8, 2015 at 3:26 pm

    It could happen anywhere if it could happen in North Charleston, an areas I know well after probably 25 drive-trips to that area hard-by the Ashley and Cooper rivers, the home of Carla Lee’s sister, where we visited yearly until recently. As a tourist, the place always seemed tranquil and laid-back, so this indeed could happen anywhere. Ain’t that America?

    405 chars

  17. LAMary said on April 8, 2015 at 3:29 pm

    A policeman on a bicycle pulled me over for a burnt out tail light once. No fine here if you fix it right away, but you waste a day at a court house proving it’s fixed.

    169 chars

  18. Dexter said on April 8, 2015 at 3:39 pm

    JeffB: Although I have been stopped many times by cops, not until last winter was I stopped by a local city cop, after 38 years of being a home owner here. My offense was snow on my windshield, which I did not realize was frozen to the glass and my wipers couldn’t remove, so as I looked for a spot to park and scrape, the cop stopped me. The cop saw my walking cane and offered to scrape the stuff, but I told him I could get it…he told me he only stopped me because schools had just let out and he was watching out for the kids…geez, what a good guy…never even asked for my license. Of course, for you, in Chicago all you used to have to do was wrap your license in a sawbuck as you handed it to the traffic enforcer. Then it went to a double-sawbuck, then an arrest for bribery…ya can’t win! Royko supplied the info about the technique for avoiding tickets, and that was many years ago.

    903 chars

  19. Charlotte said on April 8, 2015 at 4:17 pm

    Decades ago my brother and I got pulled over on Lake Shore Drive — apparently his little Toyota truck counted as a “truck” because of the topper? And no trucks on LSD? At any rate, the cop asked him to come back to the police car, and apparently told him “of course, you could also buy me a cup of coffee.” Patrick looked at him, made his eyes go all wide and said in his most innocent, North Shore-oxford shirt voice — “Sir! Are you asking me for a bribe?!” To which the cop replied “Of course not, that would be illegal. Now get out of here.”

    546 chars

  20. brian stouder said on April 8, 2015 at 4:31 pm

    I liked the road repair article, and the closing sentence (from the guy whose car was destroyed by the IED-like chuckhole resonated with me –

    “I want to consult with Sen. Mike Kowall (R-White Lake) before making up my mind,” Schell said. “He is a friend of mine. I’ll talk to him soon.”

    I betcha the ballot initiative will come out right.

    In our last election – which I was mainly concerned with getting the right school board members out of – contained a ballot initiative to restructure county governance in Allen County. I was reflexively against it, right up ’til the Sunday Journal-Gazette that featured an article supportive of the measure, signed by several local leaders including Dr Wendy Robinson – who I trust in all things. All the lunatics seemed to have yard-signs against it, which made me further question my reflexive reaction.

    I made a point of asking Dr Robinson about the issue after a board meeting, as people were filtering out, and she expressed unreserved support for the initiative, so I voted FOR it, and then watched it go down in flames on election day, with ambivalence.

    1130 chars

  21. alex said on April 8, 2015 at 4:50 pm

    Brian, that was one time I wasn’t reflexively opposed to something just because the nuts were. It had been peddled to them — quite ineptly, I might add — as a move toward smaller government, but was perceived — rightly — as a power grab.

    The argument in favor of a single county executive is that such a person could cut through red tape faster and be more responsive to business. The argument against it is one and the same. There’d be only one person to bribe, instead of the current three county commissioners, one of whom can usually be counted on to put the brakes on a bad idea.

    I’m sure they’ll dress that shit sandwich up again one of these days and try to shop it around as a worthy idea, and maybe they’ll have the Teabaggers all fooled next time.

    769 chars

  22. David C. said on April 8, 2015 at 5:55 pm

    My parents are dead set against Proposal 1. They say the legislature’s salaries should be cut to pay for the roads. I told her that won’t come close and mom just says “it’s a start”. They complain loud and strong about potholes too, so there you go.

    249 chars

  23. Sherri said on April 8, 2015 at 6:23 pm

    There is no argument you can make that will convince the modern conservative that revenue is necessary to fund the government spending they want. They are absolutely convinced that if you just cut the “waste” (i.e. spending on those other people), there will be more than enough money to both cut their taxes and spend on what they want.

    The more dependent on government spending they are (Medicare, Defense Department spending, agricultural subsidies, etc.) the more likely they are to rail against people expecting the government to take care of them.

    557 chars

  24. brian stouder said on April 8, 2015 at 6:43 pm

    Alex – I couldn’t agree with you more. Still, Dr R has lots and lots of credibility with me, to the extent that if she’s “for” a thing, I’m on-board, too.

    And Sherri – I think your incisive post is the thread-winner of the day!

    230 chars

  25. Sherri said on April 8, 2015 at 7:56 pm

    Here’s a good reminder of what the story would have been had there not been video of the cop shooting Walter Scott in South Carolina:

    225 chars

  26. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 8, 2015 at 11:45 pm

    Sorry, Jolene – I had to run truancy court this am, the judge is going through cancer treatments right now, and then the high school jazz band went to play for the Columbus Bluejackets tonight.

    I don’t know what to say about the right way to handle child support overdue cases. If it reaches a certain point you can have a warrant out on you, but in this area, you’ve got to skip a couple of court dates to earn that one, not just be “behind a bit.” Most of the ones who have outstanding warrants around here (and again, SC could be very different) owe five-figure amounts. They haven’t been paying, they’re not gonna pay at this point, in jail or out in the grey economy, so the domestic court puts out a warrant and says “we need to have a reckoning.”

    My lean against so-called oppressed dads began when I learned that, in our county and the CSEA here, fully 77% of ALL child support orders are three months or MORE unpaid. Think about that. 77%. And it was that before the economic downturn. Ironically, it went down a bit during the recession, but is now back up to at or over three out of four fathers not paying at fairly shocking rates. How do we fix this? Well, I’m not going to defend warrants, not at all, but I can see where CSEA and the prosecutor say “we have to at minimum get the parties together and talk about this, and he’s left me no choice.” (Yes, there are women behind; they are more like 25% of women who pay child support are behind as men are.)

    But even if Mr. Scott owed $38,000, a common figure I’m told as we deal with families in crisis talking about what’s owed to them by an ex-, it doesn’t justify shooting. Not even a Trump level arrearage would justify shooting. What I do know is that most current police training teaches that if/when you do draw and aim, if you don’t empty the clip/barrels, why did you unbuckle the strap in the first place? It’s being said that this doctrine is displaying a vile unintended consequence. Training, I hear from cops ALL the time, needs to and must change. To what, that’s the hold up; no one is sure to what. More offenders are drawing down on cops, more are fleeing, more are assaulting, more are seeking SBC, suicide by cop. Police officers are unnerved and confused, and the first public official to come up with a plan, a template, and a training protocol for a solid community policing program is going to have lots of incoming inquiries.

    The military model of policing, though, is BROKEN and needs to be ejected from the chamber immediately. That’s what’s steadily infiltrated the departments large and small, and policing is not COIN. That’s what they’re being trained to do, though, even to using the Nagl book as the basis. Good book, wrong usage.

    2940 chars

  27. Sherri said on April 9, 2015 at 12:00 am

    The cop didn’t know that Mr. Scott owed child support. The cop stopped Mr. Scott for a broken taillight, which seems to be the moral equivalent of driving while black (or brown.) It’s one of the favorite offenses for cops running the seizure scam, too.

    According to this Jamelle Bouie article, the Scott stop fit a pattern: black male driving an older luxury vehicle. Maybe it shouldn’t be a cause for pulling cars over.

    598 chars

  28. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 9, 2015 at 12:38 am

    That too. The reaction of people of color to cops as an occupation force is too often a feature, not a bug.

    107 chars

  29. ROGirl said on April 9, 2015 at 4:38 am

    I’m all for fixing the roads, but the Rube Goldbergian (as you so aptly called it) complexity of the plan makes it easier for people to be skeptical about the intentions and outcomes.

    183 chars

  30. Suzanne said on April 9, 2015 at 8:02 am

    In defense of the cops, there have been several bad, bad criminals caught for something like a broken tail light. Wasn’t Timothy McVeigh caught that way? And as I recall, the man who kidnapped a young woman from a slumber party in California (Polly Klaas?) was almost caught with her in his trunk when stopped for a minor traffic infraction.

    But the police also have to be well trained and very careful not to let a stop for a minor infraction turn into a death, as this did. And never should have.

    502 chars