The pirates of Port Perry

My friend Pat over at Nine Day Wonder (who, by the way, did a great interview with me that you should check out right here) is a big crime fiction fan.  So big, in fact, that she’s dragging me into the genre.

Not that I’ve avoided it.  I’ve been reading and loving Elmore Leonard’s stuff for years, as well as Dennis Lehane and a few others.  But in the last few years, Pat’s encouraged me enough to judge unpublished manuscripts of the CWC’s Arthur Ellis awards, got me out to a book launch for a local crime writer, Howard Shrier and even to try my hand at a mystery novel myself…which is a story in its own right.

Anyway, long story short, I remember walking around a bookstore with her a few months back and, in my hazy memory, I seem to remember her telling me that Ian Rankin was a great author.  Fair enough, but I didn’t pick up any of his books at the time, as I’d already grabbed a few books on her recommendation and mentally noted to check him out at some unspecified future date.

Now, flash forward to last Thursday evening when I had occasion to be in the Port Perry hospital visiting both my mother and my aunt–again, another story all on its own.  Here’s the thing…on the way out from the visit, I walked by the gift shop, which was closed.  But they had a wheeled cart stacked high with books.  Taped to the side of the cart was a price list (Hardcovers 50 cents, paperbacks 25 cents, magazines free) and an envelope that you can drop your money in.  Totally on the honour system.

You gotta love small towns, don’t you?

Anyway, not ever able to resist a stack of books, I took a quick scan through and noticed an Ian Rankin book.  Hmm, I thought.  Good way to discover if he is any good.  For 25 cents, how can I go wrong?  Then I found a second book, then a third.

Then I noticed the whole row.  It should be noted that only one of these books even had the spine broken.  They looked brand new.

When I pulled them out and stacked them up and counted them, there was a total of 24 books.  $6.00 for 24 books. Even if I hate the guy, I’ve still spent less than I would on one of his books in Chapters.

I pulled out three toonies and put them in the envelope and trotted my new library out the door.

Then, on the drive back home, I started thinking.  Obviously someone at some time presumably went to a store and purchased these books at full price and Mr. Rankin dutifully received his cut.

The owner then either read the books, or cast them aside, eventually donating them somewhere that they would end up in a cart under my questing fingers.  And the hospital got the rough equivalent of four Tim Horton’s coffees out of my pocket.

So, here’s where my thoughts went: How is this different from internet piracy?
Let me put it another way.  If I went online today and managed to find a copy of the latest John Grisham or Danielle Steele or Patricia Cornwell or Stephen King or the aforementioned Elmore Leonard or Dennis Lehane.  Pick your famous author.  Let’s say I found an ebook version of one of their books that could be copied.  Let’s say I purchased that ebook for the full price.
Then, after reading the book, it’s just sitting there.  Now, let’s say I’m a disciplined guy and I offer that ebook up on the internet for 25 cents to the first person that reaches out to me.  And they pay me and I send them the book.
That’s piracy.  Arrrrrr, ya scurvy dog!
I can be fined or sentenced to jail time or whatever.  It’s Not Good.  Right?
Now, I’m not naive.  I know that whenever music files or movies or ebooks are shared, they aren’t just shared with one person.  That’s the thing with an electronic copy of anything, it can be copied as much as possible without any loss of quality.  So when they’re shared, they’re shared with the world.
And here’s another thing to think about.  If the Port Perry hospital had had only the one Ian Rankin book, I would have tossed my quarter into the envelope, and from there, read the book and possibly enjoyed it enough to go pick up another book or two from Rankin, thereby adding to his income.
Instead, from what I can tell, I got the full collection of his Inspector Rebus novels, as well as a bunch of others.  24 books spans a lot of years of writing.  Unless Rankin releases something new, I’ve got a ton of his books, enough to last me a couple of years at the very least.  I won’t be buying anything new from him for a long while.
So, did this help Rankin?  Or hurt him?
I’ve gone out into the Twitterverse and talked about how I think piracy can help as much as it hinders.  I’ll admit to downloading an illegal copy of Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club which I then enjoyed immensely.  To prove my point, I then posted the picture of the 11 Palahniuk books I purchased at full price, including Fight Club.  The first Harry Potter adventure was the first audiobook I ever listened to and, not sure that I would even like audiobooks, I got a copy from the internet.
Not only did that cause me to purchase audiobooks going forward, but it also spurred me to buy every book J. K. Rowling released.
So, in these cases, did piracy hurt Rowling?  Or Palahniuk?  Or the audiobook market?  Hell no.
And personally, if my book Vanishing Hope ever gets released in ebook format, personally, I almost hope it’ll be pirated.  Yes, it won’t earn me any money, but I guarantee a lot more people will know my name, get exposed to my writing and perhaps, going forward, decide to purchase something else I wrote.
But back to the 25 cent books.  My question is, why is it legal for all the used book sellers to do so?  The authors aren’t making money off it.  The publishers aren’t.  And yet, within a half-hour’s drive, I know of at least stores of the top of my head that engage in this process.
Why aren’t the publishers going nuts over this?  How many stores sell used books nationally?  Internationally?
But which is sexier?  Online pirates are definitely sexier.  They’re the Captain Jack Sparrows to the retail stores…Cap’n Crunch (sorry, I couldn’t come up with an unsexy pirate).
And yes, the online pirates definitely have more reach.
But seriously.  In my opinion, online pirates have led me to actually spending money for stuff.  The Pirates of Port Perry got six bucks out of me and stopped me from paying retail for Ian Rankin.
Think about it.
Advertisements

Sears left me searingly angry

Listen up Sears Canada, I have a fantastic idea for you.  You can increase customer satisfaction, and it’ll likely cost you less than $10000 annually.  Seriously, you should consider this.

Let me back up and give you the sad, frustrating story.

The Girl decided to redo her bedroom, which meant new paint on the walls and new bedroom furniture.

Truly don’t know why she’s not satisfied to continue using the bedroom furniture her mother bought thirty years ago…kids these days, huh?  It’s okay to listen to thirty year old music that sucked thirty years ago and sucks even worse now that the cast of Glee has decided to put their shitty little spin on it, but when it comes to furniture, well, geez, let’s get a little more 21st century, huh?

By the way, in case you missed it, that last paragraph was sarcastic in regard to the furniture, but I meant every word about Glee.  Hate that damn show.  But alas, this is not a Glee rant.  Back to Sears.

She picked up a couple of pieces from Ikea that we took home and put together.  Gotta tell ya, say what you want about Ikea, but they have their shit together for the most part.  We had no problems picking the items out, no problem picking them up, no problem putting them together.  Exactly what you want.

The Girl also ordered a couple of pieces from sears.ca.  We waited about three weeks for them to arrive, but when they did, all seemed in order.

I attacked them last Friday evening, starting with the chest of drawers.  Now, I’m really not the type of personality to follow instructions, however I’ve learned with this stuff that everything goes a lot smoother if you pull all the pieces out and organize them.  This includes all the little plugs and screws and connectors as well.  So I’ll indicate this right up front, that’s what I did.

Then I proceeded to build the whole thing.  All went really well until the last of the six drawers.  Turns out I was shorted two very small but very important items.  I know I was shorted them because I sorted everything up front.

I have no idea what this damn part is even called, but it looks like this.

I was missing two of them.

This meant I couldn’t put together the last drawer, because now I had to keep one more back to stick in my pocket for the search.

I didn’t think it would be a big deal, so I just shot over to the local hardware store.  When I held this little grommet up and told him I needed two of them, he shook his head sadly.  “Ikea?” he asked.

“Sears,” I answered.

“Ah,” he shook his head again.  “Try Canadian Tire.”

So, I tried Canadian Tire.  They had them, but they all seemed far too large for my purposes.  I bought the ones that seemed closest.  Only $4.09 for four of them.  Wait?  A buck each?  Shit.  I bought them anyway.

Brought them home.  Sure enough, too big.

No biggie, I thought.  I’ll just give Sears a shot tomorrow.

So I did.

Let me set the scene.  I went to the Sears Home store in Whitby, not far from Thickson Rd and the 401.  I walked into the store and, in walking from the front to the back, I saw at least three signs or posters highlighting the 24 hour ease and convenience of shopping via computer at the sears.ca site.  They truly seemed to think this was a good thing.

So then I got up to the customer service/catalogue order desk and a somewhat friendly woman offered her assistance.  I held up the damnable grommet, explained I was shorted two of them and did they have any kicking around.

“Did you buy the furniture here?” she asked.

“No,” I said.  “My daughter ordered it online through sears.ca.”  I waved vaguely at the sign just to my left that again trumpeted the benefits of Sears on the internet.

Her response?  A downturn of the mouth, and then she said, “Foolish girl.”

Pardon?

Now, I’ve worked for a lot of places in my time, and not all of them were the most amazing places to work.  In fact, there’s two off the top of my head that I’ll happily rip into for their unbelievable management practices, asshole managers and ridiculous working conditions.  But I’ll also do that because both of them are no longer in business, as they deserved.

I was brought up to not slag the place that you work for.  It may not be the best place, but dammit, if they’re employing you, if they’re paying your wage, you don’t cut them up.  Or, put slightly less delicately, you don’t shit where you eat.

This woman was happily crapping on her own dinner plates.

Anyway, instead of showing the requisite empathy, even a simple “I’m sorry to hear that” in commiseration, she tossed that to the wind.  Granted, at no point was she rude to me, that must be stated.  And she also did go into the back to see if “the boys” had any spare parts, coming back, unfortunately, empty handed.

She handed me a brochure with the customer service phone number on there and told me to give them what for.  “You know what I’d, do,” she said.  “I’d demand they send another chest of drawers!”

“But I just need two connectors,” I said, showing her once again, the pitiful little piece of cheap metal that had be driving from Bowmanville to Whitby.

“Still,” she said.  “They didn’t deliver what they promised.”

“So, if I call customer service, they’re going to have to mail them out, right?  I’ll have to wait a few days…” I said.

“Well, you could try going to one of our competitors and…you know…bend the truth.  Tell them you bought it there.”

So now she was sending me to the competition, where I, quite frankly, wished we’d done three weeks earlier.

I left the store, casting a final rueful glance at one of those sears.ca posters.  Then I went to Home Depot and Rona, only to strike out at both stores.

So, not wanting to wait, instead, I went home, pulled out the drill, widened the holes and used my Canadian Tire grommets.  It’s not pretty, but it did the job.

Now, back to where I started this.  Everyone I talked to at the hardware stores says they have people coming in constantly for this stuff.  I’m sure it’s not just from Sears, but still…

Here’s my idea.  Most of the screws and plugs are standard issue that can be bought anywhere.  But the special stuff, the connectors I was looking for and their accompanying specialized screws and the like…I’m guessing at most they’re costing you five to ten cents each.  Hell, let’s go high and say they’re twenty cents each.

Let’s say there’s ten different types of various grommets and doodads and thingamabobs for the furniture.  At twenty cents each, that’s $2.00.  How about you keep a running stock of twenty of each them per store.  10 x 20 x 20 cents.  That’s $40 worth of inventory per store.  Times about 150 stores, that’s $6000 to cover Canada.

Granted, that’s the initial stockpile, and you’re going to have to replenish every once in a while, but still, shouldn’t take much.  It’s a small price to pay and it would make your customers a hell of a lot happier.

Of course, putting the right number of damn parts in the furniture would help more, but I know that’s not always in your control.

What is also in your control is having employees who will empathize with you and not slag the company they work for, even if it is subtly.

Honestly, the whole situation soured me on a company that’s been around over sixty years.  There’s a lot of other companies out there vying for my money who’ll treat me better.

Ikea, for instance.

Lunching on dogs and foot-in-mouth

Many, many years ago, I worked for Arby’s, the fast food place.  Long story short, my post-secondary education plans fell through and I needed a job until I figured out what the hell came next.  I never realized it would lead to me saying the stupidest thing at the most inappropriate time ever.

And believe me, I’ve said some stupid things.

Arby’s was going to be a quick thing, but somehow it didn’t work out that way and they kept promoting me.  One of the promotions was to Second Assistant Manager, which meant at the time (and I can’t speak for them now, as it’s been thirty years) that I got the shit shifts and the crappy jobs.  Oh, and the pay was spectacularly bad, but I didn’t know that at the time.

Anyway, I was about a year in and they decided to send me for a week of Management Training down in Atlanta, where the head offices were.  The training was a joke, but Atlanta was cool.  Of course, at the time, I was maybe twenty or so, very insecure and feeling highly intimidated by the older guys, and it really seemed to be all guys, in the training with me.

Anyway, I did my best to try and fit in, though I never really felt like I did.  My roommate was an older, married guy, and we had nothing in common, so that was a bust, and, because we were from the first Arby’s stores in Canada, everyone else in the training was American, so it was a little harder for a sheltered geek like me to talk to them as well.

But on the first day of training, as we were learning all about fast food management, someone brought up The Varsity, which was, by all accounts, an unbelievable fast food establishment.  I watched as guys from around perked up and paid attention.  Was I the only guy that hadn’t heard of this place?

It’s important to remember that there was no Google back then to quickly check anything out on.

They promised to take us at some point through the week, and on the Thursday, they made good.  At lunch, we loaded up a few cars and drove the short distance to The Varsity.  Now, bear in mind this is all me running from thirty-year-old memories, so I may bugger up some of the facts.  From what I remember, The Varsity was across from Varsity Stadium, hence the name.

There was so much that made this place impressive, starting with the sheer size of it.  It had its own helicopter landing pad (that they called the Lunch Pad).  I think they went through something like a ton or two of onions every day.

What did they sell?  From what I remember, burgers and dogs, but I might be wrong on the burgers.  Personally, I ordered two chili dogs, a Coke and fries.

Now here’s one of the other impressive things… When you talk fast food, I can still expect to go through a McD’s drive-thru and expect to be parked and the food come out to me.  I can go through a Tim Horton’s drive-thru and expect a line of ten to fifteen cars ahead of me and a five to ten minute wait.

The Varsity averaged seven second service.  Nope, not kidding.  Seven seconds.

I will say they had a separate line for women and children simply because those two groups are slower.  And no, I’m not going to apologize for that one.  Where I’ll slap a five dollar bill down for an 87-cent charge, I’ve watched my wife dig for what felt like fifteen minutes to dredge up the change in her purse, only to come up short, then slap a five dollar bill down for an 87-cent charge.  So, nyah.

Anyway, another thing that’s totally different from your average McD’s or Arby’s or Burger King or whatever…the guy that took my order and how he was positioned.  He was a large, intimidating man behind a counter that–I kid you not–was level with my neck, so he was way above me, like a judge in a courtroom.  And he was making this very strange noise over and over.  It sounded like “Whoodnyaaaaah, whoodnyaaaah, whoodnyaaaah, whoodnyaaaah…”  I found out later he was actually saying, “Whaddya haaaave, whaddya haaave, whaddya haaave, whaddya haaave…”

Anyway, I also got a good lesson in proper ordering etiquette when a guy a few spots ahead of me in line had the sheer audacity to walk up.  The dude is doing his “Whoodnyaaaaah, whoodnyaaaah” thing, and the customer says, “I’ll…have…uuuuuuummmm…”

At which point, counter dude stops, leans way over the counter so he’s nose to nose with the customer and, harshly and loudly says, “I SAID, WHADDYA HAVE?”

Ah, okay, that makes sense now.  “Whoodnyaaaaah, whoodnyaaaah…”  is actually, “Whaddya haaaave, whaddya haaave, whaddya haaave…”  But back to the customer.

The customer, taken aback, stutters and sputters, but doesn’t get an order out.  “BACK OF THE LINE!” counter dude yells, and points his arm at the back of the line that must have a hundred guys in it.  The customer meekly and dutifully heads back.  In five minutes, he’ll have another chance.

When I go up, I have my money out and my order memorized.  Counter dude ain’t gonna rip me a new one.  I order my chili dogs, fries and Coke, give him the money (which he scoops into a hole in the counter) and he fairly throws my change at me as the food is set in front of me.  If it took five seconds from start to finish, I’d be shocked.

I head off to where my fellow trainees are sitting and we eat.  The food is nothing to write home about, but it’s really all about the experience.  And really, it’s a cool experience.

Now, this is where it gets interesting.

We eat.  I pound back two chili dogs.  Mash some fries down on top of it and drown it all in Coke.  We sit for a while as this stuff brews in my gut.  Then we clamber back into the cars and head back to the office.

As we enter the building, I notice two stunning young women heading toward the elevators as well.

I’m going to take a moment to remind everyone that, at this point, I’m twenty, and I’m essentially a walking erection, as most males at that age are.

So, yes, I notice the ladies.

We all get into the elevator.  Maybe five guys, and the two women. Someone presses our floor.  One of the women press a floor below ours.  I’m staring at the short skirts and the long legs and the hair and the entire package.  Once again, I’m twenty, folks.

Then, we reach the women’s floor.  The elevator kind of bounces a bit and all that brewing stuff rolls over and threatens a quick, gassy exit.  But I’m young and I’ve got control.  I clench and hold it in, but the effort diverts my attention momentarily.

I rub my belly and say, “Oh man, there go those two dogs!”

Just as…

The two women…

Leave the elevator.

One of the guys sputters out a braying laugh.  I look at him, then follow his gaze out the elevator doors to the two women, now turned, are giving me the nastiest hairy eyeball ever sent from one gender to another.

I throw my hands up, perhaps as a gesture of placation, perhaps as a ward to the hairy eyeballs.  And I say, “No!  No!  That’s not….”

The elevator doors, deaf to my plaintive cries, close before I can get out the explanation.

The last image I have of the two women?  One is flipping me the bird, the other is doing the full palm in elbow, forearm flipped up.

And inside the elevator, two of the guys have slid to the floor, faces red, bellies clutched, tears squirting from eyes, laughing themselves silly.

All because of two chili dogs.

Damn you, Varsity.

The whole world’s goin’ crazy

Yet another rant on the assholes that I’ve been unsuccessful in kicking off my planet.

Have you ever seen one of those potato guns?  They’re big, homemade contraptions that you can load up a potato as the projectile and get some ridiculous distance and damage with them.  Not far from where I live, there’s a place call Pingle’s Farm and they went one step better, vastly increasing the caliber of the barrel so they could stuff pumpkins and other assorted gourds into and blow them across a full acreage of farmland.

My goal is to go one better and increase the barrel size to fit at least one, but, for efficiency’s sake, preferably four or five humans.  The goal would be to accelerate them to escape velocity and fire their asses into deep space where they can’t be heard anymore.

Because we all know, in space, no one can hear you scream.  Or fart.  Or spout bullshit.

Let’s load up the first one, shall we?

Message of tolerance

Meet Jessica Ahlquist, a sixteen-year-old atheist.  I’m going to state right up front that I’m not the most religious person on the planet, nor am I against atheists.  I believe everyone has the right to choose their own religion.  I also believe in the right of free speech.

Apparently Ahlquist disagrees with me.  There’s a banner in her high school that reads

Our Heavenly Father,
Grant us each day the desire to do our best. To grow mentally and morally as well as physically. To be kind and helpful to our classmates and teachers. To be honest with ourselves as well as with others. Help us to be good sports and smile when we lose as well as when we win. Teach us the value of true friendship. Help us always to conduct ourselves so as to bring credit to Cranston High School.
Amen.

This is a banner that’s hung there for 49 years.  But now Ahlquist has decided, it needs to come down.  It’s not right to read that.  In her own words, that it’s “almost like making a child get a shot even though they don’t want to. It’s for their own good.”

Apparently a judge agrees with her, ruling the banner is “unconstitutional.”  Fantastic.  So now we have sixteen-year-olds deciding what’s good and what’s not for the entire school and judges backing them up.  Thanks, Jessica, thank God…oops, thank Nobody…(don’t take me to court, Jessica) that you came along to save those poor kids who shouldn’t be reading that horrible, awful message that’s destroyed 49 years’ worth of students that came before you.  Oh yeah, and you’re getting $40000 out of it (so far) too.

I get a kick out John Figdor from Harvard University who appears in the video and says, “We’re very proud of the message she’s making, which is a message of tolerance. [emphasis mine]”

This is a message of tolerance?  “I don’t believe in God, so I can’t tolerate the “Our Heavenly Father” and the “Amen” in the banner?  How about not looking at it?

Hopefully Jessica won’t notice the churches strewn through the town and decide that removal of the crosses is for our own good too.  You know, spreading her message of tolerance.

***UPDATE: It’s been (quite rightly) pointed out to me by a couple of people (thanks Gavy and Lisa) that my focus was off on this one.  They were right.  This isn’t about Free Speech.  What pisses me off is the fact that this went to court, that a kid’s profiting from it, when it could have been solved by pulling four words off. and changing it so it reads like a Mission Statement (it only takes the removal of two words and adding three):

We strive each day for the desire to do our best. To grow mentally and morally as well as physically. To be kind and helpful to our classmates and teachers. To be honest with ourselves as well as with others. Help us to be good sports and smile when we lose as well as when we win. Teach us the value of true friendship. Help us always to conduct ourselves so as to bring credit to Cranston High School.

And here’s the thing…two people didn’t agree with me.  But we all approached it rationally and calmly and made our points.  No judges, no lawyers, no demonstrations.  I was corrected and I learned from it.

What did this sixteen-year-old learn?  What did her classmates learn?

Pedophile preacher can stay, kids get the boot

Sticking with the religion theme for a bit here, meet Darrell Gilyard of the Christ Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church.  Darrell’s the new pastor at the church.  Fantastic, right?

Well, Darrell’s got a bit of a history.  Turns out, between spreading the Word, Darrell tends to ignore his own preaching.  In 2009, he plead guilty to lewd conduct and lewd molestation of two underage girls.   Apparently when he was the pastor of another Baptist church, he molested a 15-year-old girl and sent a lewd text message to another.  Just the kind of guy you want acting as your morale and ethical leader, right?

Under the conditions of his plea agreement, Gilyard cannot have “unsupervised contact with children under 18 years old.”  Hmmm, that kind of poses a problem, considering the line of work he’s in.  So, what did the church decide?  He got out of prison last Dec 28 and was back to preaching by January.  And the church banned children from the services.

Well, yeah.  Makes total sense to me.  Give the dude with the short eyes the break and screw over the kids.  Because, you know, once you do some time in jail, those tendencies just fall away.  You never want to do them again.  Oh, wait, maybe you do, because they don’t want him near anyone under the age of 18.

And I can see this occurring everywhere.  You know, if you have, say, a teacher that is convicted of lewd conduct and lewd molestation of underaged boys or girls, you can still bring him back to teach.  Just ban the kids from attending his classes, right?

And before anyone busts me about hating on the Baptists…I don’t.  I hate on morons, whatever the race, colour, religion or sexual orientation, okay?

PayPal looks out for you…doesn’t that make you feel better?

Oh those wacky guys at PayPal with their crazy policies, huh?  On Saturday February 18, PayPal brought down the moral hammer on indie book publishers and distributors, threatening them with immediate deactivation of their accounts if they did not remove books containing certain sexual themes.  What themes?  Sexual fantasies that PayPal does not approve of, that’s what themes.

Let’s get specific, cuz sexual fantasies cover a wide range, don’t they?

Now granted, shit like child porn?  Yeah, you know what, let’s stay away from that crap, and PayPal includes a bunch of subjects that many would consider offensive or disturbing in real life.  Not sure where you come down on BDSM (Bondage, Submission, Sadism and Masochism).  It ain’t my cup of tea, but that’s just me.  Most of it is not illegal in North America.  Again, not judging here.  I mean, we have areas in North America where what two homosexuals would do when engaging in sex would be considered illegal.  So it’s a big stupid mess, but that’s not my point.  Here’s what is.

One of the things PayPal included was non-human fantasy creatures.  That means PayPal is demanding the removal of paranormal romance stories that include shape-shifters – if the shape-shifters were to have sex in their non-human forms.

Huh.  First of all, what happened to Free Speech?

Second, does that mean we have to recall all those Twilight books?  Yes, when Edward and Bella get it on, technically he’s in human form.  But technically, he’s also dead.  So that’s necrophilia, right?  That’s illegal.

Okay, so maybe there is and upside to this.

I’m kidding.  Seriously, what’s with everyone trying to spy on us and tell us what we can and cannot do in our own homes lately?

And speaking of spying on us…

Happiness is not a plastic gun

Meet Jessie Sansone, the poor bastard.  Jessie, unlike everyone else above, didn’t do anything wrong.  But just because he’s got a plastic dart gun in the house and a four-year-old daughter with some creativity, he went through hell.

His daughter drew a picture in school of her father with a gun and she told a teacher he was fighting the “monsters and bad guys.”  She’s four, folks.  Kids do that kind of thing.  This apparently “triggered fears that the family home contained a weapon that was a threat to the children.”

Let’s remember a couple of things here.  This is in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada.  It’s perfectly legal to own a gun here.  Let’s also remember that the picture did not show the gun pointed at kids.  The girl did not in any way indicate that her father was threatening her or anyone else in her family.  Only bad guys and monsters.

So, the girl’s teacher at Forest Hill Public School was “concerned” by the drawing and called Family and Children’s Services, who assessed the case and called police. No one called the home.  No one talked to Jessie.  Instead, he went to pick up his kid from school and was met by three cops.  After being interviewed by police at the school, Sansone was handcuffed and taken to the police station in a cruiser, where he was strip-searched (because he might have hidden a gun up his ass before picking his daughter up) and held while the rest of his family was dragged to the station for questioning.

They also searched his house.  Without a warrant.  Then, then found the gun.  This one:

Pretty dangerous, huh?

God knows what they would have done to my mother when, in the span of two weeks when I was about six or seven, I draped a perfectly knotted hangman’s noose off our third floor balcony and, as a school project, built both a hangman’s platform with noose and trapdoor made out of twine and popsicle sticks, as well as a working guillotine with a razor blade as the cutting device and an stolen thimble as the basket for the head to fall into.

Has all sense become lost to us as a society?