AuthorDerek

Wild Plan For Remaking Criminal Justice Part Something or Other

I was listening to the Free Thoughts podcast last Friday, and they were discussing criminal justice reform. One of the speakers (honestly can’t remember if it was one of the hosts or guests) talked about ways of reforming the disparity between the prosecutors and public defenders offices. He talked about semi-privatizing it by selecting each side from a pool of available attorneys. I liked the concept.

Derek’s State Attorney’s Office Proposal:

  1. abolish both the prosecutor’s and public defender’s office
  2. Establish a pool of attorneys. I’m thinking of either volunteers or perhaps as a condition of being a part of the bar.
  3. All attorneys in the pool agree to a flat rate per hour for doing state service.
  4. No attorneys will have qualified immunity for unreasonable prosecution.
  5. Trial costs would be managed by judges

Here’s my idea of the flow:

  1. Police investigate crime, develop evidence, and arrest suspect
  2. State Attorney or Deputy State Attorney will decide if the case should be brought forward
  3. If the case is going forward, two attorneys from the pool are chosen randomly – one prosecutor and one defender
  4. Attorney selected for prosecution can decline if case is unsound. Since the attorney will be liable for bad prosecutions, they will have incentives to take the strong cases.
  5. Defendant may accept pool attorney or hire their own attorney.
  6. Attorneys will be paid going rate per hour for their time on the case.
  7. If additional funds are needed for prosecution or defense, that will be up to the judge.

Are there big, gaping holes in the plan? Heck, yeah. That’s what happens when Derek gets one of his wild idea plans. Yet, I find the framework fascinating.

Metal Tuesday – Bowling For Soup – The Girl All The Bad Guys Want

I like that Bowling For Soup will take a common theme – the bad guy all the girls want – twist it, and then play it straight.

Monday Fiction – Zombie Strike – Part 3 – Chapter 23

Mexican Anthropological Museum, Mexico City, 1812 hours local, 2 December 2009, Countdown: 2 years,29 days

Beta team was in trouble. Quentin McLintock could see that as Mateo and he stormed into the exhibit. The cowboy, Jim, was on the ground. Blood seeped out onto the tile floor from a pair of nasty gashes on his arm and leg. Two gollums, armed with crude axes with heads of shiny black stone, were trying to close in on their prey, but Collin and Sport drove them back with gunfire. Jim wasn’t moving. He wasn’t dead, according to Quentin’s PDA, but he wouldn’t last long. Jessie was holding off the horde the team had been fighting before the gollums attacked. Mateo paused to survey the scene.

“Quentin, deal with the gollums,” Mateo said in a calm and controlled voice. Quentin didn’t protest. He had heard that voice before. Mateo used it when he was trying to keep his rage under control. Quentin briefly considered getting in close with the gollums, but one look at Jim’s bleeding form nixed that idea. Quentin brought up his carbine and joined the battle.

“Sport, grab Jim and pull him back!” Mateo ordered as he charged to Beta team’s position, “Collin, cover him. Jessie, I’m coming to back you up.” Quentin lost track of Mateo as the team leader attacked the horde. Quentin fired two quick bursts at the gollums, more to grab their attention than anything else. The gollums spun to face Quentin. They were nothing if not predictable. Quentin concentrated on the gollum nearest to him. He aimed at the creature’s dancing medallion and fired a long burst. The bullets lanced through the creature harmlessly, none hitting the critical medallion. The bullets may not have hurt the gollum, but they threw it back and to the ground. The physics of that much kinetic energy transferring into so little mass were pretty absolute. The other gollum leapt at Quentin, bringing its axe down in a speedy attack. Quentin reacted and blocked its strike with his carbine. He felt the axe hammer clunk on the carbine’s plastic receiver. Quentin pivoted, guiding the gollum away from his body and into a wall. The gollum slammed headfirst into the masonry. Quentin dropped the carbine and drew his warhammer. The weapon felt so right in his hands. With a predatory smile, Quentin charged. The gollum jumped to its feet, and straight into Quentin’s crashing blow. The gollum hit the tile floor with enough force to actually bounce. This might have struck Quentin as funny, but he was too busy bringing the hammer down for another blow. The medallion shattered like glass as the hammer impacted it. The gollum screamed with what could be described as horror. It tried desperately to scramble away. It was no use. Quentin knew far too well not to give a gollum any chance to move. The hammer landed in the small of the back. The gollum’s legs stopped instantly, like Quentin had hit a switch. The final blow landed on the creature’s skull. There was a sickening crack of a fragile egg, and the gollum stopped moving. Before Quentin’s eyes, the gollum withered to a skeleton. His combat mind refused the scientist in him a chance to ponder the wonder of it all. There was still another gollum left to deal with.

The second gollum was attacking Sport as the Brit tried to pull Jim back behind the hasty fortifications of broken exhibits. Collin was keeping it busy with constant bursts of fire, but the gollum was fixated on finishing off the injured cowboy. There was something wrong with this fight. Collin was easily one of the best shots of the team. There was no reason he shouldn’t have destroyed the medallion in the time it took for Quentin to deal with the other gollum. Quentin studied the gollum as he changed magazines in his carbine. He grimaced as he saw the problem. Either by luck or cunning, the gollum’s medallion was hanging down the creature’s back. Collin was good, but not good enough to hit something the width of a shoelace on an irrationally moving target.

“Quentin, do you mind giving a mate a hand?” Sport said, struggling with Jim while providing sporadic fire with his sidearm. Quentin moved between the gollum and his two teammates.

“Get him back!” Quentin shouted over his shoulder. Sport holstered his pistol and managed to get Jim into a sitting position. Using the drag handle on the back of the armor, Sport started making progress getting Jim back to the team. The gollum tried to take advantage of Quentin’s momentary distraction. Collin stopped its attack with a long burst of gunfire. With Jim more or less out of danger, Quentin fell into his fighting stance and braced for the gollum’s attack.

“Collin, hold your fire,” Quentin said. The gollum snarled as it bounded at Quentin with its axe waving above its head. Quentin gripped his warhammer and waited for the strike. The gollum snapped the axe down. Quentin caught the axe with the haft of his hammer. Quentin swung out wide, yanking the axe out of the gollum’s hand. The gollum didn’t care it was unarmed. It reached out to claw at Quentin. He grabbed the gollum by its throat. The creature thrashed violently, kicking and flailing as hard as it could. Quentin ignored the flashes of pain. He grabbed the stone medallion. The first yank snapped the gollum’s head to the side, but the leather strap held. Suddenly, Collin materialized next to Quentin with knife in hand.

“Hold it straight, mate,” Collin said as he bobbed around the gollum’s writhing arms. Quentin gripped the cord and held it taut. Collin’s knife flashed and Quentin felt the medallion come free in his hand. Without pausing, Quentin threw the medallion back to Beta team’s position. The gollum unleashed an inhuman howl as it felt its mystical invulnerability evaporate. It tried desperately to free itself from Quentin’s grasp. It needed the medallion. Not as a swordsman needed his shield, but like as an addict needed his drug. Quentin didn’t care. This gollum was a monster. A construct of destruction animated by the power of an evil god. In one fluid motion, Quentin slammed the gollum to the floor, pinned it with his leg, and then brought his hammer down on its head. Movement ceased immediately. The gollum’s body withered away to an aged skeleton in seconds.

Quentin and Collin hustled back to help Mateo and Jess combat the zombie horde. That’s when Quentin noticed the gun fire had stopped. Panic flashed through him. Then he saw Mateo. The team leader was leaning against a marble column. His carbine was hanging on its sling at his chest. Mateo had his helmet off and was puffing away on a cigar. Quentin stopped just to take in the scene – and then just burst out laughing. All of Quentin’s frustration with himself, all of his fear of letting down his friends, all of his insecurity were cleansed as he laughed. He knew that the others were staring at him, and he just didn’t care. Finally, Mateo strode over to Quentin.

“What are you laughing at?” Mateo asked, with a hint of concern at his friend’s sudden laughter.

“Sorry Matt,” Quentin said, “Oh I wish I had a picture of it.” Quentin took a few long breaths to help control his explosions of laughter.

“Picture of what?” Mateo asked, confused by Quentin.

“There you are, in battered armor, sweaty and dirty from fighting, smoking a cigar against this pristine white marble. And above you is a no smoking sign.” Mateo just looked at Quentin with an arched eyebrow, which elicited another round of uncontrollable laughing from the big man.

“When you do manage to get yourself under control, would you go see if you can figure out what Giant and his minions were stealing?” Mateo asked. Quentin could only nod.

“Sport, coordinate with The Steve about medevac’ing Jim,” Mateo ordered, “Jess, I want you to continue to clear the museum. Any group bigger than four you are to call in and wait for backup.” To Quentin’s surprise the girl simply nodded and slipped out of the room.

“Collin, you and I are going to have a talk with Giant,” Mateo said. Collin paled a bit, but nodded stoically. As the two men left to interrogate the person responsible for all of this death and destruction, Quentin began sifting through the wreckage.

“Everyone stop what you’re doing,” Mateo radioed, “Giant has vanished.”

[Zombie Strike Part 3 Chapter 24]

Friday Quote – Christopher Hitchens

Faith is the surrender of the mind, it’s the surrender of reason, it’s the surrender of the only thing that makes us different from other mammals. It’s our need to believe, and to surrender our skepticism and our reason, our yearning to discard that and put all our trust and faith in someone or something that is the sinister thing to me. Of all the supposed virtues, faith must be the most overrated.

Cartoon Song Nostalgia

In a fit of nostalgia, I’ve been binging on old cartoon intros from my childhood. It amuses me how many of the theme songs will still just pop into my head out of nowhere.

Since I enjoy sharing the bizarreness of my mind with the readers, these are my five favorite themes from my childhood cartoons. These aren’t my favorite cartoons – just the theme songs. Also, these are my favorite versions of the songs.

Mighty Orbots

Silverhawks

GI Joe

Adventures of Galaxy Rangers

Starblazers

Metal Tuesday – Bowling For Soup – A Really Cool Dance Song

This kinda typifies why I like this band. They have very witty and self-aware lyrics.

Monday Fiction – Zombie Strike – Part 3 – Chapter 22

Mexican Anthropological Museum, Mexico City, 1735 hours local, 2 December 2009, Countdown: 2 years, 29 days

Quentin McLintock heard the stacks of crates crashing down as the corpses inside them came alive and thrashed to get out. He knew in short order there was likely to be forty or so zombies bearing down on him and his three fallen team members. He wasn’t worrying about those zombies. Quentin’s entire attention was on the hand of one of those team members gripping his forearm like a vise and the moaning emanating from the body. Then Quentin’s logical mind finally broke through swirling emotion and terror. Those weren’t undead moans.

Quentin looked down at the arm. Slim’s PDA was blinking furiously. Its owner was dying – not dead – and the armor’s computer was doing everything it could to protect Slim. The PDA was desperately sending Slim’s vitals to the rest of the team. Including the Beta team. Quentin heard the crashing of glass and the sound of someone sliding down a rope. By the time Quentin turned around, The Steve was shoving him aside. The team medic was pulling a variety of supplies from all over his armor. Quentin’s mind was desperately trying to understand how The Steve got to them so fast.

“Quentin, would you do The Steve a favor and keep those zombies busy?” The Steve said with his normal light tone. Quentin looked up. The first of the zombies had freed themselves of the crates. They let out hunting moans and staggered towards the living. An odd sense of relief swept through Quentin. This was something he could understand. This was something he didn’t feel inadequate to handle. Quentin snatched his carbine off the ground. He fell into the fighting stance and brought the weapon up to the nearest zombie. With the reticle on the zombie’s head, Quentin squeezed the trigger. Nothing happened.

“Don’t get frustrated,” Quentin whispered to himself, as the zombie shambled closer and let out a hunting moan, “Tap, rack, bang.” As he spoke the words, Quentin slapped the end of the magazine, pulled the charging handle, felt the fresh round chamber, and squeezed the trigger. The ZKC coughed as it fired a suppressed burst into the zombie. The moaning was cut off as the rounds shredded the zombie’s head. Quentin didn’t wait to watch the zombie fall. He was busy twisting to bring the carbine on the next zombie. A second burst dropped a second zombie. After the third burst, the weapon locked back on an empty magazine.

Quentin dropped the magazine out of his weapon and felt around for a new one. As his hand grasped an unfamiliar pouch, Quentin remembered the spare magazines were further back. As he fumbled with a new magazine, the chorus of moans grew louder. From the sound, Quentin judged the horde was about to hit crush – the point when the sheer numbers of the horde would overwhelm the actions of the defenders. Quentin inserted the new magazine and released the bolt. Before Quentin could open fire, metal glinted out of the corner of his eye, and an axe screamed over his shoulder to bury itself in a zombie’s head.

Billy Shakespear leapt onto the loading dock with a pistol in one hand and a collapsible baton in the other. The zombies tried to turn to attack the new prey, but Billy was in motion. Billy double-tapped the nearest zombie with the pistol. As the zombie fell, Billy slammed the corpse and threw its weight against two others. Zombies, by their nature, tended to be unable to maintain balance if anything strong collides with them – especially 150 pounds of decomposing flesh, muscle, and bone. The two zombies collapsed. Billy didn’t seem to notice He already was attacking another with a precise flurry of blows with the baton. Broken leg, broken arm, shattered skull. The zombie went limp and collapsed.

Quentin started on the opposite edge of the zombies from Billy. Walking zombies were priority. Quentin took down two of the walkers. He brought his weapon to bear on a third zombie. The creature dropped out of his sight as Billy slammed its legs out from under it. Quentin immediately lowered his carbine. Without stopping, Billy brought down the baton onto the creature’s head and twirled to find his next target.

“Billy, calm down,” Quentin said, “You came into my line of fire.”

“I don’t ‘calm down’,” Billy said arrogantly, as he charged at a newly emerged zombie, “I am William Who Shakes the Spear. My father is a Chiricauau Apache whose grandfather rode with Geronimo and great-grandfather fought alongside Victorio.” The zombie’s outstretched arms were shattered by a pair of hammer blows. Billy paused for the briefest instants before sliding to the zombie’s left and slamming the baton into the back of the zombie’s head.

“Top it all off, I grew up in the toughest city on the planet,” Billy continued, “So, don’t think for a moment that I’m ever going to slow-” Billy stopped in mid-motion. The baton and pistol fell out of his hands. He stood there motionless as two zombies shambled towards him. Quentin shouted Billy’s name, but there was no response. Without warning, Billy collapsed to the ground.

“Damn kids always push themselves beyond their limits,” grumbled Mateo as he staggered to his feet, “Quentin, go get him.” The team leader looked weak, but Mateo held his carbine in a firm manner. Quentin nodded to Mateo and lifted himself up onto the docks. He focused on Billy’s still form about thirty feet away, ignoring the quiet staccato behind him and the crack of bullets around him. Quentin easily hoisted Billy up over his shoulder. Quentin ignored the moans of nearby zombies and charged back to where Mateo was providing cover fire. Quentin jumped down off the docks. There was the unique and slightly unsteady sensation of feeling the shock of landing on one foot and one knee. The prosthetic didn’t betray him this time. Or was he finally acclimating to it under stress? Quentin gently lowered Billy to the ground. A quick check of the young man’s PDA showed weakened but steady vitals.

“What happened to him?” Quentin asked, pointing at Billy.

“Fool kid recovered a bit from Giant’s attack and thought he was good to go,” Mateo said, taking down another zombie, “Didn’t think there might be an after effect of that whammy Giant slapped on us. He should be fine in a minute or two.”

“So, what now Matt?” Quentin asked.

“Collin, are you busy?” Mateo asked over the radio.

“Just a bit, Matty,” Collin answered in his calm understated manner, “Managed to run across another patch of the buggers. Dealing with it, but they’re acting a bit odd.”

“Giant is fleeing out the first floor,” Mateo said, “Can you intercept him?” There was a pause before Collin answered.

“Negative,” Collin said, “He’s up here. He’s got those blokes in black with him. Looks like they’re rooting around for something. Oh bloody hell—“ Collin cut off. Mateo checked his PDA, but the faceplate prevented Quentin from seeing his team leader’s face. The quiet string of curses from Mateo worried Quentin. Mateo snapped up his carbine and unleashed a string of bursts that brought down five zombies in less than ten seconds. Mateo let go of the carbine and drew his pistol. With an aggressive fury, Mateo drilled the remains of the zombies with precise fire. Quentin belatedly joined Mateo with fire from his own carbine.

“What is Slim’s status?” Mateo demanded as he reloaded his pistol.

“Critical. That big dude really effed him up,” The Steve answered, not looking up at Mateo, “We need to get him out of here stat.”

“Wake up Sleeping Beauty and have him help you get Slim out,” Mateo ordered, motioning to the unconscious Billy, “Extract to a local hospital and call in for more medical help. Then, I need the two of you back here ASAP.” Mateo turned to Quentin.

“Quentin, you’re with me,” Mateo said as he replaced the magazine in his carbine, “Looks like Collin’s team ran into a pair of gollums.” Mateo tried to keep the neutral command in his voice, but Quentin heard the hint of true fear. The fear a father felt watching his child walk into an inescapable danger. Quentin refused to contemplate the torrent of emotion running through his friend.

The two charged through the museum. Mateo ignored the few stray zombies meandering through the ground floor of the museum. As they charged up the main stairwell, Giant and his minions appeared. The two groups froze in mutual surprise. Mateo and Quentin snapped out of it first and brought up their carbines. The two minions fumbled with pistols tucked into their robes. Giant just stood there with a perplexed look in his eyes.

“How did you get here?” demanded Giant, with a thunderous roar, “Why aren’t you near death?” Mateo responded by shooting one of the minions. Giant lashed out with his whip. Quentin was stunned by the booming crack of the whip and the sickening wave of energy that washed over him. The whip struck Mateo in the head. The faceplate cracked as Mateo’s head snapped back. Mateo staggered back a half-step before regaining his stance. Mateo fired two quick bursts. One hit Giant squarely in the chest and drove their enemy back. The second burst dropped the other minion.

“Quentin move!” Mateo shouted. Quentin didn’t think. He just acted. He stormed up the stairs. Giant loomed over him as he reached the top of the stairs. Quentin didn’t have a chance to be afraid. He lowered his shoulder and aimed for Giant’s stomach. Giant never moved. He stood there like one of Quentin’s old tackling dummies. Quentin felt the familiar crush as his body slammed into the larger man. Quentin lifted Giant off of his feet before tossing him back several feet.

Giant looked at Quentin with a wide-eyed stare, as if he just couldn’t believe Quentin dared to strike him. Quentin felt a sudden rage. He let his carbine fall on its sling and drew his warhammer. Giant scrambled to get to his feet, but Quentin slammed him back to the ground. The hammer came down on Giant’s knee with a wet crunch. Giant let out an unearthly scream. A second blow pulverized the other knee.

“Leave him,” Mateo said, grabbing Quentin’s shoulder, “He isn’t going anywhere, and we need to help Collin.” Quentin’s anger faded. Mateo continued to rush to their teammates’ aid. Quentin gave the screaming Giant a final look before following Mateo.

He hoped they would make it to Beta Team in time.

[Zombie Strike Part 3 Chapter 23]

Friday Quote – W.E.B. Dubois

A mob had raged for days killing Negroes. I bought a Winchester double-barreled shotgun and two dozen rounds of shells filled with buckshot. If a white mob had stepped on the campus where I lived, I would without hesitation have sprayed their guts over the grass.

Unpopular Opinions – May Riots Edition

Time for another round of unpopular opinions:

  1. If that police officer isn’t guilty of at least manslaughter, then that was some weird deep-fake shit.
  2. If after watching that, you can’t understand why Black Lives Matter exists, you are too far up your own team’s ass to see clearly.
  3. If after watching that video, you don’t understand why the current qualified immunity standard leads to a horrific “only ones” attitude, then you’re too far up either Blue Lives Matter or the police union bullshit.
  4. If after watching that video, you don’t see how horrific it is for police unions to protect bad officers, then you are also too far up your own ass to see clearly.
  5. There’s part of me that wishes someone had been able to forcibly stopped the cop, but I know that person would have been crucified. I think it’s high time that there should be a doctrine and cultural practice that if the populace witness the police performing an illegal act, we should be able to stop them. With all applicable force ladders.
  6. I understand and condone people gathering and protesting unjust actions to call attention to their plight. I may not agree with their assessment or opinion, but I fully sympathize.
  7. I can sympathize, *but not condone,* with attacks on government buildings by people outraged by atrocities committed by government agents.
  8. I will not sympathize or condone attacks on private businesses and homes. It don’t care if someone looting a store, throwing a fire bomb, committing arson, or even smashing a window *during the course of a riot* catches a bullet. Or multiple bullets. Or however many bullets it takes to stop them.
  9. It has been terrifying to watch how fast the narrative that the violence was mostly caused by white supremacist and fascist instigators and provocateurs spread across the inter webs. For fuck’s sake, if you’re correctly calling out the other side for their bullshit, at least have the common decency or consistency to call out the assholes on your own.
  10. If after watching how fast the riots – not the protests, the violent riots – spread to other cities, you do not understand why it should be normal for every willing citizen to have an AR-15 with a thirty-round magazine, then either you are too far up your team’s ass, or you do not want to get shot when you’re busy causing property damage.

Metal Tuesday – Bowling For Soup – 1985

I like doing odd things in June. So, this month will be “Bowling For Soup Month!” Mostly because I just went through their discography and really liked it.

So, we start out with the song that brought them to my attention.

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