Saturday, April 21, 2007


Friday, April 20, 2007

New Beginnings!

Tonight! Opening night! So cool to see the stress of tech week resolve into the success of opening night.

Erm. In my absence from the blog, I've become minutely involved in theater again, for the first time in ten years (sort of; there was that one grad school class). Tiny bit of costume sewing. Fantastic people. Fantastic production. You should go see it.

I should go to bed. Sleepz now. Yes.


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

CSI: The Boring Parts

So I've been thinking about making this post for two days, but work and extra-curriculars have conspired, and I thought I'd let it go.

Now I've been evacuated from work due to a bomb threat that closed my building and six others for the day.  It's likely a copycat, as Bill pointed out, but really?  This gets to the heart of the point I want to make about police work: a copycat is as capable of killing people as the person being copied, and investigating threats takes time.

After the attacks at Virginia Tech, I heard Katie Couric ask (and I paraphrase slightly), "With the gunman dead, who do we hold responsible?"  I see no reason why responsibility should pass on due to death.  Excoriating local police and university officials (who are also suffering and mourning) will not bring back any of the dead, nor will it prevent future attacks.  A person sufficiently determined to kill will kill.  With no rational motive, we will not prevent them doing so.  Policing is, by definition, a reactive response to a crime already committed, and while some behavioral work has been done to attempt to predict the moved of some kinds of serial and spree killers, two hours remains too short of a time period in which to identify motive, means, suspect, and potential for further attack.

I get very frustrated with people who want to blame police response for the carnage at the second crime scene.  Police had no reason to suspect that there would BE a second scene.  They had no reason to close the entire campus for an incident that occurred in one building.  Why?  There are quite a few good reasons.

1.  Most murders occur between people who know one another.  Even if bystanders are hit, there is usually a previous connection that leads to the assailant, and this is usually gleaned through police investigation: interviews, physical evidence, etc.

2.  When a woman is murdered, it's very likely by a current or previous romantic partner.  When we first heard about the first scene, it was reported as a possible murder-suicide.  With the actual assailant slipped off quietly back to his dorm, this would, at first glance, be the most obvious avenue of speculation, and would also not suggest reason to seal the campus or evacuate.  Which leads me to...

3.  Crime scenes do not provide much in the way of quick information.  From the moment the first officer arrived on-scene, there were two evidence-related goals: preserve evidence, and preserve chain of custody.  The first was most likely a crowd-control issue, given that the scene was indoors and the largest threat to evidence was too much traffic and witnesses who wandered off.  The second is a matter of controlling access to physical evidence for legal reasons: had there ended up being anyone charged for the murders, every movement of every piece of physical evidence must be documented.


You know how everyone on CSI does their own thing, picks up the first interesting thing they see, bags it and runs off to hunt it down?  Not so much.  My first-hand experience with evidence collection is in emergency rooms, so I'll draw from there instead of regurgitating my textbooks to you.  When a woman who has been raped goes to the ER, both medical and police procedures are put immediately in place.  You've likely heard of a Rape Kit, which is an evidence-collection set kept in ERs so that evidence can be collected as soon as possible when a victim reports without denying her medical attention.  It contains supplies for examining and taking samples from likely places that evidence can be left, instructions for photographing visible bruising or other damage, and forms documenting the collection and storage procedures for each sample.  It's a huge help not to have to stop at the police station, or wait for evidence collection materials to be trucked over, but it presents a huge pain in the ass for some poor nurse, who can literally not let this box of evidence out of his or her sight for the duration of the evidence collection.  This can take hours, and can go over shift-change.  At the end of it, the evidence is signed over to a police officer, who then delivers it to the appropriate processing or storage personnel, who also must sign for it.

Imagine doing this for an entire crime scene, two dead victims, a number of wounded people, and anyone who witnessed the incident.

So, while the cops were collecting evidence and information regarding the only existing scene scene, college officials were crafting an email designed to prevent panic (in itself a potentially deadly threat), and the shooter was quietly slipping back to his dorm to prepare to alter lives once again.  The only one of these three parties who had credible reason to suspect further mayhem was the person planning to create it. 

Monday, April 16, 2007

Possibly, This Makes Me Feel More Validated Than it Ought

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Massive Cute Warning: You May "Awww" Uncontrollably

Via Robyn, the latest in things that make me wish I had gone into neuroscience: laughing ratties.

Friday, April 13, 2007

My Musical Woes

First Ave hates me. Ted Leo's playing on the 25th. A freakin' Wednesday. During my first week of a new job. And for that matter, no foolish confederates to attend with. Come to think of it, I need to find more foolish confederates to attend things with stat, since Brother Ali's playing in June.

Y'all, I had more of a life when I was in grad school. What the hell has happened here?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Well Played, Google

I finally set up my Google calendar, and was entering the week's agenda when *poof* -- it stopped utterly.  I now get nothing.  Not a damn thing will load.  This is clearly a fantastic service, Google.  Thanks for offering it.  I now have a perfectly valid excuse for missing appointments.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Fun Times

Went on an impromptu, whilrwind trip to Duluth this weekend to celebrate. I haven't been through there since Labor Day weekend of 2005 when we went to Grand Marais. I'm taking this as further proof that 2006 was so awful that it ceased to exist after it ended. At any rate, it felt good to go "home." (NB I wasn't born there, but I'd have stayed there if it had been feasible.) We did the usual Canal Park bumming around, but didn't get up the shore to do any hiking because 1) we weren't there for long and 2) there was still snow from the 12 inches they got last week (damn lake effect).

Today we went to see "Hurricane on the Bayou." Go see it. It has Tab Benoit and a fantastic soundtrack (bought it!) and made me cry and laugh and despair and hope and sing. And also? Omnimax is total crack. I've been to two Omni movies in two weeks, and the format never ceases to awe me. We used to go all the time when I lived in Duluth, and I'm thinking it's time to become a regular here in the cities.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Screw Flux

Sure.  The day after I angst out on the blog I get the most fantastic news I've heard in a year.  I'm off to withdraw sundry job applications and generally make merry.  Woo hoo, employment!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Still Here

Hi all! If anyone's still reading this, I just wanted to check in and say I haven't died. I'm still trying to sort myself out after the upheaval of the past few months. I might move the blog... but I might not. I might move myself... but I might not. I might have a new job... but I might not ("you'll hear very soon" is a very relative phrase). Flux is the word of the day, and I'm living in it. And I think this is the longest I've gone without posting in the four years since I started this thing.

Flux, man. It's a bitch.