Charges for Making Faces at Police Dog Don’t Stick

Last July Jayna Hutchinson of Lebanon, N.H was arrested for making faces at a police dog following a heated debate with a Vermont police officer who refused to take down her report of being assaulted. Citing that she smelled of alcohol, Vermont State Police Sgt. Todd Protzman agitated Hutchinson when he told her that he would only take her report after she had sobered up.

This tuesday, only two days before Hutchinson was to go to trial, Orange County State’s Attorney Will Porter decided to drop the charge, after viewing a videotape of the incident. The subsequent charge of “resisting arrest” was also dropped because prosecutors did not think they could get a jury to convict her without the “cruelty to a police animal” charge.

Since she never even touched the dog, I tend to think the charges were more about her having challenged police authority than about hassling the police K9.

DEA Agent Shoots His Own Foot

Zach showed me this video yesterday, and I just couldn’t get enough of it! I mean is there anything better than a cop standing around a bunch of school kids bragging about how nobody is more qualified to handle a handgun than him, and promptly shooting himself in the foot? I submit that there is not!

Actually I really can’t believe it! First, why would he bring a loaded firearm into a school? Secondly, how in the world did he manage to touch it off? Finally, how did we all get so lucky to have a video camera running when it happened? It seems like the stars just lined up this time. I know I tend to be hard on the cops, but the attitude that this guy displays really gets under my skin. So many times they take that annoying superiority attitude, and it’s nice to see that it finally came full-circle… Even if only this once.

Montana Meth Project

I’m not naive enough to believe that the “war on drugs” is anymore winnable than this country’s ludicrous “war on terror”, but those who know me, know that I hate drugs… So, I was happy to learn that, facing a huge meth-amphetamine problem, an organization backed by corporations called The Montana Meth Project has sprung to life and made a seriously concerted effort to dissuade Montana’s youth from using meth.

Yep… You read that one correctly. I’m usually not one to give corporations much credit since they are usually happy to ignore civic responsibility if it will increase the bottom line for their shareholders, but in this case, a group of them have seriously stepped up to the plate, and are attempting to make a real difference.

Using some pretty hard-core TV, radio, and billboard ads, the Montana Meth Project is trying to keep kids off meth by putting the consequences of addiction right in front of their faces. They’ve realized that the usual anti-drug image of police officers droning on about jail time and fines if you are caught with drugs only reinforces the “us against them” attitude and often turns kids towards drugs rather than away from them. By instead focusing on the much more real and humanistic repercussions of drug addiction, they are hoping that Montana’s youth will avoid meth not to simply doge a meaningless fine, but to avoid screwing up their lives.

I, for one, think this is a great idea, and hold myself as an example of why it will work. I have little to no respect for the law, but I do have respect for my own life, health, and well-being. It is for these reasons alone that I have never tried drugs. Let’s hope Montana’s kids find these messages compelling.

Montana Meth Project PSA – That Guy from Cliff Pearson on Vimeo.

Montana Meth Project PSA – Just Once from Cliff Pearson on Vimeo.

Montana Meth Project PSA – Laundry from Cliff Pearson on Vimeo.

Montana Meth Project PSA – Eybrows from Cliff Pearson on Vimeo.

Montana Meth Project PSA – Bathroom from Cliff Pearson on Vimeo.

The World Needs Fewer Cops

About a year ago, I was pulled over and given what I consider to be a frivolous ticket. I managed to beat it in court, but it got me thinking about how many police we have dedicated to making sure nobody is doing anything “wrong” with their car or skateboarding where it is prohibited. It seems that the vast majority of the police force is out patrolling roads rather than actually helping the people who need it or stopping real crimes.

Speed limits have not substantively changed since the 1950’s despite the fact that our vehicles have improved immeasurably in terms of breaking and handling ability. Why is this? Just follow the money. Think of all the tickets that are written each day. Think about how much those tickets cost, and then consider the fact that only 3% of all citations are contested in courts. This pretty much just amounts to a huge tax that only a tiny fraction of Americans seem to question.

In fact, because of all the fear mongering out there, most citizens have been deluded into thinking we need even more cops to “protect our safety” by pulling over even more terrifying criminals who are endangering our society by driving with a headlight out, or going 5 mph over the speed limit. Can you detect my sarcasm? Good! To me, if our cops don’t have anything better to do than set up speed traps and give kids a hard time for riding their roller blades, we have far too many of them as it is.

After getting that ticket, and before I beat it in court, I wrote this letter to my Governor, local and state representatives. Not a single one of them wrote me back. I imagine that they have all joined in society’s collective fear, and just didn’t know what to think about a person who is asking for fewer, rather than more police.

I am writing this letter to ask that you please investigate any and all means to prevent drug trafficking within the state of Vermont. Drug abuse is a major problem, and controlling it will undoubtedly have a positive influence on the quality of life in this state.

Having said that, I am asking that you please evaluate alternative options to hiring more state troopers. The reasons I am asking this of you are two-fold. First, we find ourselves facing unprecedented budgetary challenges, and with each new officer costing tax payers roughly $70,000 for the first year alone, creating more police positions is simply not fiscally responsible at this time. Secondly, it frequently appears that the state police we do have often lack enough work to keep them busy. Countless examples exist of officers issuing frivolous tickets, or hassling folks who are doing nothing illegal, or even suspicious, but who don’t quite fit the mold.

I moved to Vermont from New Hampshire because I value my freedom, my individuality, and my right to be left in peace. Even though it is an unintended consequence of otherwise well-meaning initiatives, it is my experience that a larger police presence can’t help but run counter to these values we share as Vermonters.

Please don’t impose more financial obligations on an already over-taxed state. Please help preserve the sanctity we share as law-abiding citizens. Finally, please impose tough, no-nonsense sentencing standards upon those involved in the illicit drug trade, but don’t ask tax payers to fund a larger police presence that is likely to spend nearly all of it’s time patrolling roads, not removing the drugs from our streets.

Thank you very much for your time.

After thinking more about it, perhaps a better way to go about reducing the number of cops would be to lobby for higher salaries. If we demand that our police officers are paid more, the departments will be able to retain fewer of them… It would keep Mr. and Mrs. Paranoid feeling secure, and we could be more selective in the type of troopers we are hiring.

Santa Drunk Driving

This is a little “Cops” knockoff With a drunk driving Santa. The cops decide to pull him over because of his wreckless driving and find find the trunk of his sleigh filled “snow from the north pole”. Humm… Sketchy!

The video is really pretty funny, but I have to wonder what this year’s “Village Idiot Award” winner Bill O’Reilly would have to say about it within the context of his imagined “War On Christmas”. Apparently O’Reilly thinks that anyone who is offended by someone wishing them a Merry Christmas is “insane”, but in the same breath states that HE is offended by anyone who wishes HIM a “Happy Holiday”

The verdict is in… Bill O’Reilly is insane. I’m sure he thinks this video is just another part of his bogus war on christmas.

While you’re at it, check out this video with actual footage of the “War on Christmas”. Tanks guns and Holiday Trees… Oh MY!

Drunk Driving Santa from Cliff Pearson on Vimeo.

German Kite Skates Across Australia

Via TreeHugger

I got all excited to learn that a German fellow named Dirk Gion has gathered up a mountain board and some kitesurfing gear and taken to windskating across Austraila. I’ve always thought that the wind was an underutilized source of power. I’ve raced sailboats since high school, and I’m aware of certain iceboats exceeding 75mph and more than 10X wind speed, but I have to admit to being surprised that Dirk has managed to exceed 30mph powered only by a kite.

Aparently he has been pulled over by the police a couple of times, but had no real problems with them. I’m sure this has just been out of curiosity for the most part. I mean, I would pull him over if I was a cop just to pick his brain. I can only imagine, however, that if he was doing this in the US, the oil lobby would have had their neo-conservative buddies pass some kind of law against it, and poor Dirk would be sitting in prison now.

Anti-authroity mentality aside, however, you just have to admire a guy who tackles a 3000 + kilometer journey with only a skateboard and a kite, and it’s not like this is his only ambitious journey. At 19 he crossed Germany and France on horseback, and he has managed some pretty impressive rock climbing accomplishments as well.