William Gillespie, 29 of Erie, Pa., did a stupid thing.
...allegedly. I guess.
While attempting to gain entry into the Erie County courthouse, which involved passing through a metal detector, Gillespie emptied his pockets into a small bowl.
Unfortunately, the 15 crack rocks in the pill bottle included in the contents of Gillespie’s pockets caused a bit of a stir with the sheriff’s deputies manning the post in the courthouse.
As a matter of course Gillespie was arrested, charged with possession of a controlled substance – that’ll be a tough one to fight in court – and intent to deliver.
No one has bothered to help Gillespie get out on his $15,000 bond.
Okay, those are the superficial “facts” of the case. But there’s a bigger question that needs to be asked here: why?
Why in the name of all that is rational would a man bring an illegal substance into a building where he is sure to be searched?
Maybe I don’t watch enough bad television, but I still want to refuse that anyone could be that dumb.
(Yes, this is coming from me after almost half a year of Nunnsenses.)
So, I’ve considered Gillespie’s possible motivations and cooked up a few alternate explanations, which may or may not hold water depending on further evidence.
1) Some court worker, possibly up to and including a judge – nobody is above suspicion – needed their crack fix, wasn’t able to leave the building, and simply couldn’t wait until the end of standard business hours.
2) The police planned a sting operation, which involved offering Gillespie a deal that was too large to turn down but stipulating that the deal must take place in the courthouse.
And when he gets caught, he’s guiltier than the devil in church on Easter Sunday.
Last week saw the conclusion of this year’s legislative session. In three all-day-long floor sessions, we considered 22 bills and resolutions, and also worked through over 40 reviews of amendments and compromise positions between House and Senate versions of bills. This year was different from most of the sessions I’ve seen, in that we had worked our way through most of the Senate bills by our last week, and those bills that we did see were primarily minor housekeeping and “fix it” type measures. Thus, while there was plenty to keep us busy, the attention-grabbing action came from conference committees working towards compromise versions of bills. Conference committees are temporary working groups appointed to resolve differences between House and Senate versions of a bill, when neither chamber is willing to accept the other one’s version. Three members are named from each chamber, and the team is tasked with hammering out something that they think both chambers can support. There are usually a dozen or more such committees appointed during the last week of session, and this year was no exception. But this year, one particular bill held the lion’s share of attention, and that was HB 142, the ethics bill intended to address the concerns highlighted in last year’s heavily supported referendum on lobbyist gift caps.
Last week the Supreme Court heard oral arguments (http://goo.gl/h9Ywa) concerning two different cases that relate to the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) (http://goo.gl/29Vak). DOMA was signed into law in 1996 in order to delegitimize any attempt by the states to legalize homogender marriage by disqualifying members of such unions from receiving certain federal “benefits.” So even if a state did legalize and recognize such marriages they would always remain somehow second-class in terms of government-mandated benefits. However DOMA proved to be an irrelevant impediment and several states have since enacted laws recognizing homogender marriage. So, once again the question of federalism falls before the court: wherever federal and state law conflict, which shall take precedence? The constitution was written in such a way that state law supersedes in all cases except where the constitution has expressly delegated such authority to the federal government. Progressives typically fall into the category of those who believe the constitution to be a “living document” insofar as they routinely discover new “expressly delegated” authority that tends to align with their worldview. Conservatives however view the document more through an “original intent” lens. Oddly enough though the rolls are reversed with respect to DOMA. Now it is the progressives insisting that the constitution does not give Congress any implied authority to regulate marriage and it is the conservatives claiming there is clearly an unwritten mandate in the constitution to defend “pillars of our society” such as marriage. My, my, it seems the constitution can be all things to all people when it suits their partisan purpose.
Found this neat saying that I wanted to share with you: “All too often in our country, this gay, false spring brings disaster in its trail by encouraging growth and blossoms which are killed when winter returns for a farewell visit in moody April.” (Louis Bromfield, Malabar Farm)
So with that said, don’t get too excited about putting out those newly purchased plants; there is still a chance for frost until April 15, after which it should be safe to plant tender plants or seeds. In the meantime, don’t forget to deadhead those pansies to keep them looking fresh and not going to seed.
With the warm weather that we had earlier in March, there is a good chance some perennials have already popped up, but if they are not too advanced you can still divide them. Bulbs should be divided or moved while they are still green so they can get their roots established before they go dormant. Consider planting summer blooming bulbs every two weeks to have continuous flowers. Caladiums can be started in pots now, but not outside– too cold and too wet. Dahlia tubers should wait until the end of the month– remember to put the stack in first, then the tuber.
Late winter-planted vegetables can be fertilized now and you can continue planting lettuce, carrots and onions. After the last frost you can put out bush beans, cucumbers, pole beans, Swiss chard and those much-sought-after homegrown tomatoes. Should there be a surprise frost, gallon milk jugs with the bottom cut out can be set over the plants to protect them.
(Note: One should listen to David Bowie’s “Cat People” while reading this piece.)
Scottish philosopher David Hume notably questioned the psychological basis for induction – that is, how we can be able to predict future events from past events – but even Hume would have thought this one was a no-brainer:
Recently, an unnamed woman in Liberty Eylau, Texas found a snake in her backyard.
A normal enough occurrence, right? But this woman loses her sense of rationality, throws gasoline on the snake and sets it on fire.
Apparently, there wasn’t a shovel nearby.
Panicked, the snake slithered into a pile of brush, which was near the sight of the planned immolation.
Guess what happened next: the snake started a brushfire, which, in turn, started a house fire...
Yep, the woman’s own house.
I’m pretty sure that we have sayings to help us prevent situations like these.
Local fire chief David Wesslehoft acknowledges that it isn’t strange for a burning animal to spread a fire.
Wesslehoft then described a scenario to Shreveport, La.’s KSLA where a rodent or other creature gets caught in the middle of a controlled burn, then attempts to run away from the fire, only to be engulfed in flames and then catch neighboring areas on fire.
However, I’m sure that it is rare for the animal itself to be the planned target of the burning.
In addition to losing her house, a neighbor’s house was also burned as a result of the brilliant idea.
The woman is facing no charges as of now, but I can think of at least a few laws that could have been broken during the bonfire, not the least of which being animal cruelty.
Although by now the woman might need a warm place like a prison bed to sleep.
Printed in the March 28, 2013 edition
Last week saw the House closing in on the end of this year’s legislative session – we only have one week to go. The committees were working through Senate bills, so we had more to consider on the House floor. We voted on 38 bills and resolutions during the week.
SB 76 seeks to address the challenges faced by many returning veterans. A variety of the issues confronting these veterans, from employment through mental health concerns, are addressed by sometimes very separate arms of the state government. Unfortunately (and to no surprise), those agencies often don’t coordinate very well, to the detriment of the veterans being served. SB 76 would create a Returning Veterans Task Force, composed of members of those agencies, and directed to examine how the state can better synchronize its efforts on behalf of veterans. Being a former Army officer, I consider this a very worthwhile effort, and supported the bill, which passed by 150 to 1.