Man in German Uniform Killed By Police

2 January 2009

The first police involved shooting of the year occurred hours after midnight when police responded to a report of shots fired in an ally in the University District. I’m not post to discuss the events that occurred but rather our reactions to them. More and more frequently I am getting my local news from neighborhood blogs. Their stories are often more inclusive and detailed than the papers, but they are not held to the same accountability which I think is the mortar supporting the foundation against the demise of the printed press.
The Phinney Wood blog provided a link to the suspect’s myspace page as well as to related news articles. With the over-saturation and hyper coverage of news in our culture I’ve been more compelled to troll through the comments of major news articles despite it’s lack of productivity. I wanted to share two comments from this event that I found interesting.

Amazing how many people can jump to a conclusion, and base their opinions, on such limited information. According to the article “They were shooting rifles in the alley”, “A neighbor heard the cops tell him to drop the weapon”, and the cops stated that the subject pointed the rifle at one of them. Reminds me of the time a subject crushed a mans head through a mirror and left him unconsicous in a public restroom. I arrived, yes I am a Seattle Police Officer, and I had to try and arrest the subject, who was obviously violent, and mentally ill. A fight ensued and a crowd of mostly people gathered around to shout, “Police brutality!” I knew the subject, from previous contacts, so I told him, “Ok, John! Tell you what. You get away from that guy, and I’ll let you go.” I then threw my hand cuffs at a male, in a suit and tie, and said, “Ok, since you know all about fighting combative subjects, you arrest him!” The subject stopped fighting and grinned, while staring at the suit. He also growled at him and showed his teeth. The suit ran away, and the crowd gave applause. The subject was so amused he gave up, got cuffed, and sat into the back of the patrol car. So my challenge is this. To all those people, who are so quick to tell a cop how to do their job. JOIN UP! “Be the change you wish to see in the world!” Or at the very least, do a ride-a-long. Then, when someone points a weapon at us, jump in front of the cop(s). Show us what a wonderful job you’d do. And TomR, whomever you are, think what you want, but know this. If you called SPD, and someone was threatening to kill you, the cops would put themselves between you and the threat. Regardless of what you think of them… Would you do the same for a citizen?

If this story is true, which it may not fully be its a good glimpse of the sad lives of our society in which we stand around like audiences to the gladiators. Organized sports no longer fill the void of chaos and savagery that it once did so we applaud an officers efforts to entertain us while we watch with disparaging tongue and wit.

The next comment sums up our collective world view on recent tragic events. I hope the families of all those involved return to a stable sense of normalcy sooner than later.

So I guess the tone I get from these posts on the Seattle Times is, if you’re a young African American teenager and are murdered or are shot and wounded, you had it coming because of the lifestyle you led. There is no benefit of the doubt and some people on here go so far as to post a link to the teenager’s Myspace page. This paper will detail a criminal history of a young black African American teenager to outline why his death happened. Additionally, when a teenager is killed, people here want to blame the parents and always ask where they were at the time of the incident and wonder why they didn’t do a better job of upbringing.
Yet, a UW student answers the door with a gun in his hand and is shot by Seattle Police and he has all the shadow of doubt in the world and it is considered a tragedy. If you doubt what I say, look back at the tone of the responses to these stories and read for yourself. It disgusts me to no end. Nonetheless, I think no matter who you are or how smart and charming you are and how good of a tipper you are, if you point a functional firearm at a Seattle Police officer, you run the risk of being shot. People have been shot for far less and I am sure, that knowing the victim spoke 3 languages or was a history buff was not a factor to consider when they discharged their weapons. All they saw was the business end of a weapon pointed at them. Far be it from me to condone the actions of Seattle Police but where is the wrongdoing in this?

-Tamao George Yasutake

Artifacts of Contemporary Living

8 December 2008

I don’t know what it is about internet meme’s that I find so intriguing. Maybe the validation I get from them that seem to say, “yes the internet is real, it is a living document and yes you too are a part of it.” Not so much in the way that I need to belong to something, but more so in the manner that I can’t help but belong to it, whether I like it or not. Meme’s remind me that as hard as some of us try not to, that we are all just similar code lines in complex programing.

During the months that I walked to work I cut it pretty close to missing the ferry on a few occasions. Walking in the dark early hours I passed a handful of other walkers, each with their laptop bags, backpacks, and lunch carriers. We are older casings of our former selves. Like kids to school we walked toward the chaotic noise of the city filled with our fellow classmates putting in time for a better grade, higher pay, a faster car, and a second mortgage. Even now the ship’s loud speaker announced our late departure while we wait for an aid car. Johnny got called to the school nurse. The ferry is our bus to school, most prominent in the moments before departure when adults dressed in business attire run, sometimes in an all out sprint to catch the boat before they pull the gangplank away. As soon as the two minute warning is announced we become wild elk spooked by a lioness in the grass. Running with coat tails behind in a panicked flee and wheeled luggage in tow. It’s not every day that you get to see middle aged professionals in an all out sprint, a site usually reserved for natural disasters and acts of terrorism. Before the comedy sets in there is a feeling of uneasiness, I can feel the animal evolutionary psychology telling me to run. Even though I know I’ll make the boat with my long legs allowing me to walk faster than some of their runs, I sometimes join in just for fun. And other times when I don’t give in to my animal instincts, I’ve missed the boat.

These are my artifacts from contemporary living. I wrote an essay once about the contents of my wallet and their correlation to my identity. Today I ponder the same thing. A brown fabric wallet containing a debit card complete with a points reward system to entice me into more spending. A Starbucks Gold card that I bought after going there every day for two weeks with the guys at work. It’s already paid for itself, but the day after I bought it we started going somewhere else. A passenger ferry pass that expires in February. My business card with a stamp of my name and serial number. The eleven dollar rubber stamp is by far the cheapest way to personalize the standard card stock without having to hand write my name on the handful of cards I give out daily. My Washington driver’s license more formally called a Driver License, but commonly referred to as an OL rather than an SID. Two employee ID cards. A ferry vehicle pass which expires in March but will be used up next week. A massage therapy business car with the date of my next appointment. If my coworkers aren’t taking advantage of the twenty free massages a year they’re missing out. My insurance card. An out of dat ferry schedule, one dollar, and a receipt for this sailing.
We used to play the what’s in your wallet game in high school while waiting for food at a coney island or some other greasy spoon dive. It was a way to pass the time and maybe even learn more about ourselves.

A dark grey computer bag containing: A 2.1 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Mac Book. The charger. My sprint cell phone that has no camera phone.
A key ring made from a green Metolius Cam, containing five miscellaneous keys.
A Glock 27. An extra magazine containing eight .40 calibre rounds.

An Anthropological Intro to You Tube

14 August 2008

This presentation at an hour long is profoundly touching.

Also check out:
Information Revolution
Larry Lessig Remix TED 2007

Star Wars Ewok Gospel

13 August 2008

I didn’t even know there were haters of inhabitants of the moons of Endor!


12 August 2008

I heard this the other day while circling the Olympics on the 101. Broadcasting from a Canadian radio station I figured it was respectively a canadian band. The song no doubt sounds a lot like Cake, which I went through a phase of listening throughout high school. The flowing rap has a a modern feel to it. When I came home the next day the song was still in my head and I looked it up on the reliable you-tube. Since then I’ve listened to it once a day. At work to I started singing the open lyrics, and immediately got a response of disgust. “I hate that song!” and “My boy friend always sings that, I can’t stand it!”
I don’t care, the more I listed to it the more I like it, despite its overwhelming 90s stench, which my wife will attribute to it’s appeal for me. As I write this I hit play for a third time. It’s anti war lyrics, though sophomoric appeal to me, which remind me of this song.

Homeschooling is even ineffective in lab rats.

30 July 2008

Liesureguy has posted an article about a study on lab rats and the effects of separation from their families in their infancy and its effect on our personalities.

I’ve always been opposed to homeschooling.

I worked with a lot of home schooled and home schoolers in the military. While most of them were good people, I haven’t met one who wasn’t socially awkward and sometimes even debilitating. The last time I talked with one of them we had a long conversation about it where he asked me what I felt he was missing out on. I told him that it was all of the negative things in high school like bullies, test and teacher anxiety, and talking to girls.

According to this report, “found that across repeated sessions of competition, novelty-exposed rats decreased their release of stress hormones into the bloodstream, suggesting that they adapted faster to the stressful situation.” seems to fit right in.

Home schooling is no better a solution to raising our children than is mindlessly dropping them off at school and relying on other people to take of them. The solution lies somewhere in the harmony of active parenting in a community setting.

Place Spotting: Passive geocaching

13 July 2008

During the long hours of night watch on open ocean transit we used to play a game with our navigation system. Zooming into some obscure part of the world at a range of two nautical miles the player would try to guess the location as we zoomed further and further out. Lame as it was it passed the time. Sadly the game got old after about once. Luckily there’s now the Google Earth Geo Map Quiz. A Google Earth puzzle where you try to find and match obscure areal photos using a few almost passive geocaching like clues.

Place Spotting