Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Lake Mead

We started the Memorial day weekend on friday morning 8am renting jet skis and towing them out to lake mead. Renting and gassing them up took a long time but just after 10am we were in the water.
The skis took some getting used to and we had some early slow falls.
Then we all took turns on the 4 rented skis which were tons of fun.
The water skis were broken out and shortly thereafter Dave's Tibia got very broken by the water skis. That was the end of the water skis and did put a damper on things. We got Dave back to shore and wheeled him back to the car so Merideth could get him to the hospital.
After zipping out to Hoover damn we were all getting a bit playful on the jetskis. We caught the attention of the police and JT received a $300 reckless boating ticket. The cops were being rather overzealos almost siting another of our group for *almost* towing a water skier incorrectly.Towards the end of the day everyone was pushing their jetskis to the limit.We did have some damage to the jetskis (someone stepped on the jet breaking a bracket and we had some cracks from bad docking) which added $100 to the rental bill. Even with some of the bad luck we had, overall it was a great time and after learning some lessons I'd love to do it again.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Sis got skillz

After having a big famliy mothers day brunch at Mon Ami Gabi in Paris we went over to my sister's charicature booth over at the Aladdin and had her draw Donovan. She did one a bout a year and a half ago, so I want to keep getting them done every so often as he grows up.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Good Article

'Gun-Free Zones'
April 18, 2007; Page A17

The bucolic campus of Virginia Tech, in Blacksburg, Va., would seem to have little in common with the Trolley Square shopping mall in Salt Lake City. Yet both share an important characteristic, common to the site of almost every other notorious mass murder in recent years: They are "gun-free zones."

Forty American states now have "shall issue" or similar laws, by which officials issue a pistol carry permit upon request to any adult who passes a background check and (in most states) a safety class. Research by Carlisle Moody of the College of William and Mary, and others, suggests that these laws provide law-abiding citizens some protection against violent crime. But in many states there are certain places, especially schools, set aside as off-limits for guns. In Virginia, universities aren't "gun-free zones" by statute, but college officials are allowed to impose anti-gun rules. The result is that mass murderers know where they can commit their crimes.

Private property owners also have the right to prohibit lawful gun possession. And some shopping malls have adopted anti-gun rules. Trolley Square was one, as announced by an unequivocal sign, "No weapons allowed on Trolley Square property."

In February of this year a young man walked past the sign prohibiting him from carrying a gun on the premises and began shooting people who moments earlier were leisurely shopping at Trolley Square. He killed five.

Fortunately, someone else -- off-duty Ogden, Utah, police officer Kenneth Hammond -- also did not comply with the mall's rules. After hearing "popping" sounds, Mr. Hammond investigated and immediately opened fire on the gunman. With his aggressive response, Mr. Hammond prevented other innocent bystanders from getting hurt. He bought time for the local police to respond, while stopping the gunman from hunting down other victims.

At Virginia Tech's sprawling campus in southwestern Va., the local police arrived at the engineering building a few minutes after the start of the murder spree, and after a few critical minutes, broke through the doors that Cho Seung-Hui had apparently chained shut. From what we know now, Cho committed suicide when he realized he'd soon be confronted by the police. But by then, 30 people had been murdered.

But let's take a step back in time. Last year the Virginia legislature defeated a bill that would have ended the "gun-free zones" in Virginia's public universities. At the time, a Virginia Tech associate vice president praised the General Assembly's action "because this will help parents, students, faculty and visitors feel safe on our campus." In an August 2006 editorial for the Roanoke Times, he declared: "Guns don't belong in classrooms. They never will. Virginia Tech has a very sound policy preventing same."

Actually, Virginia Tech's policy only made the killer safer, for it was only the law-abiding victims, and not the criminal, who were prevented from having guns. Virginia Tech's policy bans all guns on campus (except for police and the university's own security guards); even faculty members are prohibited from keeping guns in their cars.

Virginia Tech thus went out of its way to prevent what happened at a Pearl, Miss., high school in 1997, where assistant principal Joel Myrick retrieved a handgun from his car and apprehended a school shooter. Or what happened at Appalachian Law School, in Grundy, Va., in 2002, when a mass murder was stopped by two students with law-enforcement experience, one of whom retrieved his own gun from his vehicle. Or in Edinboro, Pa., a few days after the Pearl event, when a school attack ended after a nearby merchant used a shotgun to force the attacker to desist. Law-abiding citizens routinely defend themselves with firearms. Annually, Americans drive-off home invaders a half-million times, according to a 1997 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In Utah, there is no "gun-free schools" exception to the licensed carry law. In K-12 schools and in universities, teachers and other adults can and do legally carry concealed guns. In Utah, there has never been a Columbine-style attack on a school. Nor has there been any of the incidents predicted by self-defense opponents -- such as a teacher drawing a gun on a disrespectful student, or a student stealing a teacher's gun. Israel uses armed teachers as part of a successful program to deter terrorist attacks on schools. Buddhist teachers in southern Thailand are following the Israeli example, because of Islamist terrorism.

After the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in the U.S., long-time gun control advocates, including Sen. Barbara Boxer (D., Calif.), agreed that making airplane cockpits into "gun-free zones" had made airplanes much more dangerous for everyone except hijackers. Corrective legislation, supported by large bipartisan majorities in both houses of Congress, allowed pilots to carry firearms, while imposing rigorous gun-safety training on pilots who want to carry.

In many states, "gun-free schools" legislation was enacted hastily in the late 1980s or early 1990s due to concerns about juvenile crime. Aimed at juvenile gangsters, the poorly written and overbroad statutes had the disastrous consequence of rendering teachers unable to protect their students.

Reasonable advocates of gun control can still press for a wide variety of items on their agenda, while helping to reform the "gun-free zones" that have become attractive havens for mass killers. If legislators or administrators want to require extensive additional training for armed faculty and other adults, that's fine. Better that some victims be armed than none at all.

The founder of the University of Virginia, Thomas Jefferson, understood the harms resulting from the type of policy created at Virginia Tech. In his "Commonplace Book," Jefferson copied a passage from Cesare Beccaria, the founder of criminology, which was as true on Monday as it always has been:

"Laws that forbid the carrying of arms . . . disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes . . . Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man."

We Got Crabs

After Donovan picked up a little goldfish at his daycare "spring-fling" party we kept it in a vase with water. After surviving for 2 weeks and being named "Frank" by Donovan, we decided to get an aquarium. After getting Frank in the aquarium he seemed very lonely so we started picking up fish and other critters. We now have 3 crabs, 3 gost shrimp, 2 aquatic frogs, 8 neon tetras, 2 black molleys, 2 fancy guppies, 2 red wags, Frank the goldfish and 1 black moore. We did have a Green Spotted Puffer named "barack obama" but he turned out to be very aggressive and ate 2 neon tetras, some gost shrimp and 4 legs off our crabs. So we flushed Barack Obama down the toilet.