Feb 28, 2013

Fire a cop; save a life

I've encountered the Iowa Highway Patrol twice in recent years. The first happened as I was on my way home from the  2011  GOP straw poll. Tired in the wee hours, I pulled into an interstate rest area for a nap. A young highway officer woke me with a flashlight tap on a window. He gave me time to collect my thoughts, explained he was responding to a 911 hangup, and wondered if I'd seen anything. "Nothing much, just a couple of stray dogs running around." We chatted a minute or two,  and he very politely left with, "Thank you for talking to me."

The next one was less pleasant. Flashing lights invited me to  stop and discuss my speed.  The veteran IHP cop claimed 70. I stood firm on 69, at most, and (accurately) blamed it on simple inattention, the Hedda Pass excuse. We arrived at a reasonable compromise. He wrote the ticket  for 6-10 over rather than the much more expensive 11-OMG over. I departed angry only with myself. The natty officer did what he gets paid to do, levy the speed tax to fatten the Iowa treasury.

The point here is my personal view that most highway patrol guys are not unpleasant people and, in fact, are among our most intelligent and professional Only Ones.

Until, that is, you take a look at their  collective behavior as expressed through their union as blared in the headline: Number of state troopers down nearly 100 since 2000. 

 "Iowa State Troopers Association president Darin Snedden (said). '…Our state needs to increase our trooper numbers by 87.' In 2000, there were 455 troopers on the state payroll. As of February 1st of this year, there were 363 state troopers on the job in Iowa. That’s 92 fewer troopers than there were 13 years ago.

The implication is that motoring Iowans are at greater risk in proportion fewer officers. He wants $13 million to hire about 90 more, but  here the Smokey Union butts up against the statistics:

In 2000 -- the base comparison year Mr.Snedden cites -- we had 455 speed cops and 445 traffic deaths.

In 2012 we had  363 cops and 362 fatal crashes.

Hence, using the sort of logic loved by our political class, the more cops, the the  more deaths. It's probably just a statistical quirk  that the ratio of police manpower reductions to reduced traffic deaths approaches 1:1.


Of course my analysis is silly when applied to the issue at hand.   All sorts of things affect road deaths, and -- while I doubt it -- perhaps hiring a few more highway enforcers is a wise use of money.

But it does illustrate the mindset of the ruling political class -- "We can say any damned thing we want because the proles are too lazy and stupid to check the numbers. They think math is too hard."

Feb 26, 2013

Blog spam

I've trashed a few comments lately, all of them spam.  Apparently a few unevolved life forms have doped out a way of evading the Blogger filter. May they choke on their dingleberries.

Darwin at work in the frozen North

Strapping on a 9mm pistol, getting drunk, then crashing your snowmobile may not be the best idea a guy ever had.  If the cops and reporters have it right, that's what a fellow did last week. He dumped his sled in an "open field"  down near Storm Lake, badly injuring his back-seat lady. Officers charged him with OWI, and:

"In addition, authorities discovered ------  had a concealed 9 millimeter handgun on his person. Authorities say (he) had a valid permit to carry the gun, but when a person is intoxicated that permit is NOT valid, as well as when operating a snowmobile. An additional charge of carrying a concealed weapon was filed...".

I have no problem with the carrying-while-puked charge. Our two-year-old shall-issue law permits carry while sipping in bars and restaurants, but the second you hit .08 on the  joy meter your CCW becomes worthless. That strikes me as reasonable. I never found great fault with one of the old NRA "10 rules" which said firearms and booze don't mix.

The carrying while snowmobiling or ATVing prohibition is part of DNR law {Iowa Code § 321G.13(2)} and is more debatable. A permit holder would seem to be no more danger to man or beast  on a sled than at the wheel of a rust-bucket Ford Ranger with giant wheels,  4x4,  and an aftermarket Zoomenkrash 460 V-8. 


I haven't kept close track of the gun bills in the Iowa legislature this session. For that you go to Stranded in Iowa. From what I have been following, it appears that there won't be much, if any, gun-law change this session. Our pols are fully occupied bickering about education reform (stop giggling), property tax relief (dammit, I told you to stop), and what to do with our modest budget surplus. About the only consensus of that last point is that we shouldn't give it to His Ineptness  even though he badly needs it to buy votes from union ship welders in tidewater Virginia.

Feb 25, 2013

Whinny whinny

I woke up with the darndest urge to buck somebody off and crap in the middle of the street.  In broad daylight, mind you.

it took a minute to clear my mind and remember that I supped on Swedish meatballs from IKEA.

Poor Trigger.

I conclude that the Swedes sequestered a bunch of krona, forcing the layoff of all their royal meat inspectors.