The sex-offender registry is mostly about making you feel safer without actually making things safer

LETTER: Sex offender registry makes no sense

I completely disagree. While maybe there are some who shouldn’t necessarily be on the registry, we as parents have a right to know if we have a child rapist living a block over.

I personally had a sex offender living one street over. And his victim was a young boy around my sons age.

This is understandable but not rational. You don’t know what convicted arsonists, murderers, robbers, or burglars live near you. You can’t see all of the people convicted of family violence offenses in the closest apartment complex.

Continue reading “The sex-offender registry is mostly about making you feel safer without actually making things safer”

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Law is obeyed of respect, power obeyed of fear

The other day, the Odessa American reported on the John Ben Shepperd Public Leadership Institute’s event on policing, and as reported, the featured guests said some troubling things.

First, both outgoing Ector County Sheriff Mark Donaldson and Odessa Police Chief Tim Burton suggested folks ought to comply with whatever an officer tells them to do in order to protect themselves.

Now, women in the audience might not feel completely comfortable following that advice if interacting with former police officer Salvador Becerra during a traffic stop or former deputy Alfred John Herrera once in jail.

Or maybe that’s not fair. Only rarely do peace officers sexually assault people they have in their custody.

Continue reading “Law is obeyed of respect, power obeyed of fear”

It’s time to drop out of the Electoral College

The other day, Will Holford wrote an interesting column supposedly explaining the ongoing value of the Electoral College and presidential primary process.

What’s especially interesting is that he spent no real time talking about primaries, and none of what he said about the Electoral College ended up making sense. Continue reading “It’s time to drop out of the Electoral College”

My interactive editor sense is tingling

I don’t have an electric car.

One day we probably all will, and pedestrians and bicyclists will die in even greater numbers because they can’t hear the vehicles coming their way, but I don’t.

Yet for some reason, I keep confusing the battery life in my cell phone with the amount of fuel in my gas tank. I “feel” like I’m driving on fumes when my phone says it’s at 3 percent, even though I know this is stupid and I know that I’m doing it.

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Yeah, but what was Paul Ryan’s split in the 4×100?

The other day, I reread the first column I wrote for the Odessa American because I remembered it was about the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, and I was very upset about the fact that we hadn’t won the “true” medal count.

Don’t tell me we have the most medals, list us first and pretend that matters. Don’t tell me we still got second and ought be pleased with ourselves for that. Don’t tell me the Chinese girls cheated and are younger than they claim to be and our poor 16-year-olds didn’t have a chance.

We lost, and I don’t care if it’s basketball, diving or dressage, we ought to bring home the gold. We ought to win. We’re American. That’s what we do; that’s who we are.

Continue reading “Yeah, but what was Paul Ryan’s split in the 4×100?”

Phillip K. Dick is too famous to use less than his whole name

The other day, I heard they were doing a “Total Recall” remake. Then I heard they were casting Collin Farrell in it, and I became much more interested in it — but completely disinterested in ever actually watching it.

That’s not a knock on him in particular, but the more I learned about the movie, the more I came to think it wouldn’t be the sort of thing I care for.

Continue reading “Phillip K. Dick is too famous to use less than his whole name”

In an alternate universe, Jack Kevorkian is a rich man

The other day I was talking to someone, and a friend of hers came up in conversation.

He’d killed himself, and he let everyone know why, and it was in its way a very good reason — or at least the sort of reason that came as a surprise to no one.

Someone else said he didn’t have the courage to do that himself. There’s nothing courageous about killing yourself to deal with a problem, but it’s not weak or cowardly, either. The decision to end all future decisions can, occasionally, be the product of a rational thought process.

More often, though, it’s the result of depression, the irrational chemical composition of the brain. Suicide comes at a moment of weakness, a bad night, hitting bottom.

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DOWNTOWN: All we need to revitalize downtown is a flux capacitor

The other day, and by that I mean today, the Odessa American started running a series on downtown Odessa, what it was, is and might one day be.

It’s a project that really grew out of the mind of city editor and fellow columnist Celinda Hawkins, who has her childhood and inherited family memory to draw on, but it’s funny because in my lifetime, downtown hasn’t been anything, and I hate the northeast sprawl more than most anyone I know.

Continue reading “DOWNTOWN: All we need to revitalize downtown is a flux capacitor”