So, yesterday, my home was cased by some degenerate looking for an easy break-in (q.v. last issue, editor). What concerns me about the incident is: a) the guy’s seeming indifference to the dogs barking on the other side of the door, b) the fact that he and his accomplice(s?) targeted our house out o the varied selection on our block, c) the police’s helplessness to do anything about it.
Last things first. In order to arrest this guy, he has to either be caught in the act or witnessed in the act of breaking the law. And even if he is caught AND convicted, it amounts to neither here nor there since this particular guy we’re talking about has already been convicted a good two dozen times for B&E. The police are not to blame. They’re doing the best they can (and then some) but are handcuffed by a judicial system that is weighted more toward showing compassion for perpetrators than generally giving a fuck about the victims of crime. Witness this interesting little article from last year’s Vancouver Sun in which the city’s police chief suggests a means of getting those chronic offenders off the streets: “A 30 Strikes and You’re Out” policy. 30 strikes! 30!!! According to Chief Jim Chue: “ “These criminals primarily commit property crimes to feed their drug addictions. We have literally thousands of these criminals who in any other city would be classified as chronic offenders after they have had five criminal convictions. But in Vancouver, the situation has reached ludicrous proportions.” (http://www2.canada.com/vancouversun/news/story.html?id=4683cc28-c34d-4aad-93b6-bd580152c013)
And yet, lawmakers in this country (and this city in particular) feel they’re committing a gross social injustice by locking these mouth-breathers away. It’s always “What we really need to do is target the roots of this problem: substance abuse, the terrible childhoods that may have led to their lives of crime, the fact that manufacturers make dress shoes too tight which ends up putting wearers in a bad mood and more likely to break the law, etc.” The implication being that by targeting these issues instead, we’ll actually be working to solve the problem – which is all well and good but doesn’t really help the victims of crime. My question is: “Why can’t we have both?” Why can’t we target social problems AND keep our streets safe by locking these thugs away?
The criminal-loving defenders will argue that locking criminals away does nothing to change criminal behavior. The province’s Attorney General has suddenly and miraculously adopted a tough-on-crime stance since the public outcry over the rise of gang violence in the city. Truly amazing given that this is the same guy who, when asked why more car thieves weren’t ending up behind bars, essentially told reporters it was because prison wasn’t an effective deterrent. Well, I’ve got news for this doofus and any of you with a similar opinion, specifically those who believe that prison is about rehabilitating criminals so that they can some day become productive members of society: We have plenty of productive members of society who DON’T commit crimes, law-abiding individuals who are having a hard time making ends meet in these tough economic times, struggling to survive while the crooks and creeps that plague our society are given a free pass. Prison isn’t some social experiment designed to magically transform miscreants into school teachers and lovable librarians. Prison is punishment. Prison is the means by which we can keep chronic offenders off our streets and make our neighborhoods a little safer. Honestly, we have more than enough “productive members of society”, thank you very much.
Rehabilitation my ass. I remember back many years ago when our quaint suburban neighborhood was rocked by the murder of an elderly couple. Three punks crawled in through their basement window and beat them to death with baseball bats while they were sleeping. Given that the perpetrators were all under the age of 18, they were considered young offenders and thus avoided adult court and any serious jail time (Incidentally, Quebec is notorious for its coddling of young criminals, holding that anyone under 18 years of age cannot really be held responsible for their actions because they have yet to develop the ability to judge right from wrong.). I recall being outraged and voicing my displeasure at a local video store, suggesting the murderers should have faced hard time. One of the clerks working there seemed surprised, countering that locking them away wasn’t the answer because they could still be rehabilitated and become productive members of our society. Interestingly enough (and not at all surprisingly) this guy went on to become a reporter.
Which brings me to the media who, on the one hand, demonstrate a marked disinterest in following up on or applying pressure to the criminal element in our society while, on the other hand, luxuriate in applying the screws to the police if they ever so much as step out of line. Nothing thrills the fifth estate like the sniff of police brutality or corruption – no matter how faint the trace or inevitably way-off-base the suspicion. I sympathize with police who are put through the ringer for doing what is becoming an increasingly tough and grossly underappreciated job. And, quite frankly, I occasionally empathize with those who do sometimes cross that line. Several years ago, a couple of cops roughed up a drug dealer and repeat offender who the courts, for reasons only they can explain, couldn’t be bothered to get around to dealing with. The local news was, of course, all over the story, vilifying the cops while plastering the drug dealer (and his media whore defense attorney) all over the news. As he was being interviewed, the drug dealer informed reporters that, as a result of the rough treatment he’d received, he now panics whenever he hears a siren. My reaction was: “Great!”. I couldn’t have been happier to hear it.
Okay, second things second. Why our house? No idea. It could be because it’s one of the nicer homes on the block (Apologies, neighbors.). Or it could be because there was no car parked out front (I park my car in the garage). It could have been a random selection and the fact that I surprised him by being at home may lead him to think twice about coming back. Then again, if he’s a stubborn idiot (which I believe these types usually are) then he may try again. Which brings me to –
First things last. Despite the fact that I have an alarm system, these guys are smash and grab types, helping themselves to whatever they can and fleeing the scene before the police arrive. I’ve taken further precautions to lock the place down and make it, if not inaccessible, then harder to access and certainly trickier to slip quickly away from. Still, if at the end of the day they do end up stealing some of my shit, it’ll certainly be annoying but these items are replaceable. The dogs, however, are not and that is the only truly troubling aspect of this whole incident – the prospect that I can never feel comfortable popping out for a few hours and leaving the dogs alone. And so, to be on the safe side, I think I’ll be spending more quality time at home to keep an eye on things, work from my home office, and welcome any would-be burglars with a thought-provoking argument for why they shouldn‘t rob me inspired by this province’s impotent but socially conscious judicial system.
On a lighter note, I had the guys over for basketball today (My bracketts are screwed. Curse Wake Forest and BC, but especially FSU that deep-sixed any outside shot I had of finishing “in the money“). I left Carl a message yesterday, inviting him over. This morning, I received the following response on my voice mail:
“Hey Joe, it’s Carl. I got your message. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to make it to your little shinding today. But I did, if it’s okay with you, I did tell my brother it would be okay for him to swing by. You’ll recognize him. He has a white van. I told him not to knock on the door, just to peer in the window until he saw you. I told him your name was Stanley because of your celebrity status I want to keep secret. Anyway, I hope that’s okay. Talk to you later. Bye.”
David writes: “ 1. Is the new Icarus set going to be the replacement for the sgc set which was knock down last year.
2. Can you confirm that the destiny is equal to 5 carriers as Robert Carlyle said in his interview, it seemed to me a bit on the small side, it not even as big as Atlantis is, let alone a hive.
3. Was Rush character based on the Baltar of the new BSG, they both have a similar look and feel there characters if that makes any sense.
4. What is your favourite script so far.”
Answers: 1. The Icarus base set is in Stage 5, the former home of Stargate Command.
2. I can neither confirm or deny as I don’t know the specifics off the top of my head.
4. I enjoyed the opening three-parter, Air.
Deni B. writes: “I hope they catch the guy soon. Have you ever considered getting a big dog?”
Answer: They know who the guy is but unless they catch him in the act, he’s free to walk the streets and plan his next robbery. Actually, it would seem that even if they did catch him, he’d be out in no time, free to walk the streets and plan his next robbery. As for the big dog – yeah, Fondy’s leaning towards a Great Dane.
PL writes: “How is House of Leaves shaping up?”
Answer: Bizarre yet creepy. Give me another hundred pages or so and I’ll weigh in with a far more informed opinion.
PG15 writes: “In this screenshot, there’s a little green patch at the very left, behind the gate. Is that actually a part of the Destiny set or is it just green screen?”
Shiningwit writes: “I remember a long time ago and in a galaxy far away my then husband and I came home one night to find someone in our house, it was a stupid tosspot from round the corner known for breaking and entering so my hubby chased him to his house and bust his door down!”
Answer: Love it.
Frenchygate writes: “- Are there any plans for multi-seasons arc(s) ?
– Will the special effects budget be significant ?
– The episode titles in one word are just for the first season ? Are they definitive or just code names ?”
Answers: 1. The series as a whole will be more arc-driven than its predecessors. That said, we know where we’re headed for our season finale and second season.
2. It will be significant but, hey, it’s never enough.
3. For now, we’re going with one-word titles for the show’s first season.
Silversi writes: “Question for you (and sorry if this has been asked before, I’m fairly new to your blog)…do you think that there is even the slightest teeny tiniest chance even if its waaaaaaay far off in the future that there could someday be an Atlantis/SG-1 crossover movie?”
Answer: There certainly could.
Brandon writes: “How many gates do you all actually have? Two (SGA and SG-1)? Or is there a third on location gate? Did you retrofit an old gate for SGU or build a new one?”
Answer: We currently have three gates: one in Stage 6 (the Atlantis gate), one in Stage 5 (the SG-1 gate) and one in Stage 4 (the Universe gate).
Anubis91 writes: “ Now that Atlantis (in its tv show form) in over and even if some movie(s) has yet to come, I would like to know if you could share with us the production arts of the beginnning of Atlantis, with the earliest concepts of the Pegasus gate, the earliest Atlantis concepts arts, etc… ??”
Answer: If I can track them down, sure.
Shirt ‘n Tie writes: “If Atlantis is splashed down outside San Franciso…..which gate has dominance…SG1’s Cheyenne Mountain or the Ancient Gate???”
Answer: I believe the Pegasus gate takes precedence.
Ponytail writes: “Hummmm. Interesting. Your first season episode titles could all be one word titles. Your second season episode titles could all be two word titles. Your third season would be three and so on, and so on…”
Answer: Especially when we hit season 10!
CatFishEatsDogFish writes: “ Since you’re an executive producer, I imagine you do, for lack of better words, “producerly things”. But what does someone like a “story editor”, or a lower-ranked producer/writer do when they’re not penning their own script?”
Answer: Help spin ideas, break stories, give notes on outlines, scripts, cuts, and mixes, and generally learn as much as they can about production.
Sappho writes: “I was wondering… do you think military protocol will be more relaxed on the Destiny due to their distance from Earth?”
Answer: Time will tell…
Danny writes: “Have you read Jay Lake’s Mainspring yet?”
Answer: I haven’t. Good?
Dovil writes: “He miraculously got away by participating in the Fence Leaping Olympics, but left behind a subtle clue to his identity. His car.”
Answer: They aint the brightest.