Guns, defects and heron predators
February 14, 2013
Looks like the JPD got more money to conduct another DWI checkpoint and stops this weekend, not that they aren't motivated to stop erratic drivers at other times. What caught my eye from the news release authorized by Chief Lane Roberts was that "impaired driving contributes to nearly 30 percent of all Missouri traffic fatalities."

In 2011 (Missouri notoriously is behind on their stats but one year behind is acceptable), the release goes on to say, "218 people were killed and 867 were seriously injured in crashes involving an impaired driver." Compare this to stats released by MADD that Texas has more drunk driving deaths than any other state in the country with 1,213 people killed in 2011 (OK, it is big territory but it was their rallying cry for stronger drunk driving legislation).

MADD also states that based upon National Highway Safety Administration stats, albeit very old data, "about one third of all drivers arrested or convicted of driving while intoxicated or driving under the influence of alcohol are repeat offenders." So, while MADD nationally has cracked down on all-too-lenient judges by placing MADD members in court as witnesses, many offenders are still getting a slap on the wrist by the Court, sending them back on the road. (This and not to forget how easy it is to get charges reduced to driving an impaired vehicle so fines stay in the local coffers.)

Putting convicted drivers of DUI back on the road to me is like giving felons gun licenses, getting to what really riles me up. Yes, of course, I believe that every life is precious, but what makes death by gun more significant than death by auto, or, for that matter, significant death because of incompetent hospital procedures? Let's also take away more vehicles from drunks and professional licenses from incompetents.

Other stress factors

It's not that relocation by impulse and downsizing is not stressful enough, having to buy major replacement items has become a killer. What this could result in, if everyone cooperated, is a boycott of goods that are being imported, leading to a return to producing domestic goods that are overseen by a quality control department. Of course, the buyer has the option of picking a product off of a showroom floor and carefully transporting it home in his or her pick-up. I wish I owned a pick-up. I wish I was lucky enough to have taken advantage of the huge furniture sale in the JC Penney Home Store in Springfield where to my surprise and dismay a china cabinet, that would have fit my needs, stood with an unbelievable price tag.

Perhaps, the worse decision was to purchase an American Drew china cabinet from an Internet merchant named The Simple Store. I waited several weeks for delivery, stumbling over unopened cartons containing what was meant for it. It was delivered in two parts, first the credenza whose finish in no way matched the description offered, and then a couple of weeks after that, the hutch that arrived so damaged that the delivery service didn't hesitate in removing both pieces. Luckily, the merchant had no choice but to credit my charge account...although, I think, they wouldn't have been as eager if the charge had gone through.

But being a glutton for punishment I re-ordered the same piece of furniture from another merchant (Cymax) and waited an equal amount of time. The china cabinet at least was defined as having both a top and bottom to be delivered at the same time. Close inspection of it came days later when I found a crack in the side of the hutch and shortage of several brackets that held the shelves in place. I guess, initially, I just didn't want to know what was wrong with it..couldn't wait several more weeks for a replacement...actually, couldn't handle dealing with the retailer's customer service rep from India. So, I wrote a letter requesting replacement parts directly from the manufacturer ("manufacturer" being, I believe, a misnomer. The cabinet packaged in 2 cartons stamped "China" clearly had just come off of a ship and trucked to me via a distributor.)

The pond

In the backyard of my new home is a small pond with about a half dozen koi, a couple of which daily stare up at me through the ice. I am their protector and that responsibility scares me. I have been warned that in the early spring a heron will visit to try to make sushi out of them.

On the Internet everyone has a different notion of how to keep the fish safe from predators. Install a net. Install fishing line crisscrossing the pond. Buy a motion detector sprinkler that sprays water on an intruder, ANYONE in the area.

Placing an alligator near the edge of the pond was contradicted by someone suggesting that the heron would know (wily birds, that they are) that alligators don't live in the wild in Missouri. And a YouTube video makes fun of the use of a life-like plastic heron staking its territory near the pond when a male is seen swooping down to mate with it before getting bored and concentrating on its next meal.

So, any other ideas are welcome.....

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