Saturday, June 27, 2009

Not a place to make cuts…

I have been pretty tied up attending the child molestation trial of San Mateo County psychiatrist Dr. William Ayres, and I had every intention of writing about that here today. Check out the Trials and Tribulations blog to see what I’ve been up to most of the week.

I observed something at the courthouse yesterday and it’s been troubling me.

During the lunch break, I went to the opposite side of the second floor to wolf down my lunch. There was a young woman with her young son in a stroller, waiting for an office to open. Her little boy was adorable—sandy blonde hair, green eyes, laughing. Every so often she would take a cell phone call and while I couldn’t hear her words I could hear her frustration.

The little boy was an absolute flirt, smiling and giggling at women when they walked by. Quite the little lady killer! So as I prepared to schlep over to the other side of the second floor, I stopped and asked the young mom about her boy, whose name is Andrew, and his age is 16 months, though he looks much closer to two.

I mentioned how cute Andrew was and how happy a baby he seemed to be. She said, “He misses his daddy.” I then asked “Where is his dad?” and she said “He’s in jail—the police arrested him for domestic violence and I didn’t want them to.”

I then asked “Did he do it?” and she replied, “Well, yes, he pushed me but he didn’t mean it.” She then said “I don’t even know if I’m doing the right thing—my emergency custody papers expire at 5 o’ clock today and I don’t know what will happen if they expire.”

Our conversation went on. She proceeded to explain that her husband hadn’t hurt her, though she was a bit sore from being pushed in the chest. But she did say that he is mean to her, calls her fat and stupid and lazy, and aligns himself against her with his 8-year old daughter, who is also abusive and cruel. The 8-year old regularly calls her stepmother ugly and fat, and then makes cutting motions at her own neck, saying “Someday soon it’s just going to be me, and daddy, and Andrew. You will be gone.” The husband pulls a knife out of his pocket and points it at her and says "Bye bye."

(This woman looks like a young Elizabeth Taylor, and she doesn’t need anyone telling her she’s not a size 2, okay?)

So I asked, “What do the authorities tell you to do?” She said, “When the cops took my husband, they gave me this,” and produced a piece of paper with a list of domestic violence resources. She claims to have gone to one of the places listed on the paper, but it sounds like it’s a support group and not anyplace to get legal aid.

She then burst into tears and said “I am all alone and no one will help me and I don’t know what I am supposed to do.” Her family is in SoCal and she planned to drive down there once she had her paperwork in order—she doesn’t want her husband to snatch the boy up and disappear with him.

Her overbearing mother-in-law called her early yesterday morning to get her son’s “nice clothes” so he could meet with his attorney, and she was encouraged to drop the charges. (There is a restraining order against him, something she didn’t ask for, but an automatic thing in her county when domestic violence has happened. The husband has to pay rent and maintain the household but he can’t have any contact with her, even by phone.)

Only thing is she can’t drop the charges: she didn’t bring the charges! As I understood, the police had been summoned by a neighbor because of the yelling. As the woman gave her history, the police made the decision to arrest the husband.

Andrew is her only child; she lost a sibling to Andrew from gynecological complications, and the pregnancy with Andrew was a difficult one.

So there’s this poor woman, has no idea what to do or how to do it, with a husband who already has the advice of an attorney, trying to keep her baby under her care.

And I had no way of knowing what she needed to do. Her name was on a “list” of walk-up appointments to presumably have the custody order extended. But she was afraid they’d take Andrew because she made him wait in the stroller, because she’d forgotten to grab socks for him (it was very warm outside), that his face might be dirty because she fed him. “I don’t want them to think I am a bad mom.”

She told me her husband controls the family’s money, and when she asked him for money for baby wipes and milk for Andrew, he gave her $6. The stepdaughter said, “Oink, oink, you gonna go get yourself a Big Mac?” at the prompting of her father.

While pregnant with Andrew, her Latino husband told her he wanted her to be a stay-at-home mom. But now he wants her to get a job, but only certain hours. Why? He doesn’t want to pay for child care, so he and his 8-year old daughter (Andrew’s half-sister) will watch Andrew, but only during the hours between 4 and 10 p.m., or overnight, because the father claims that the stepdaughter doesn’t want to be around her stepmother.

The ultimate clusterfuck family. A 33-year old woman whose self-esteem is in the toilet, and when she goes back into that situation (which she no doubt will), she’s allowing the adorable Andrew to become just like his dad, to hear his mother be berated, to learn how to be cruel to women.

All I could do was listen, and then tell her I suspected she did not deserve to be verbally abused or pushed ever.

I fully agree with the police arresting her husband. What I wish would have happened is a social worker or even just a social worker’s administrative assistance be available to guide this woman through the system. What are her rights? Does she need to file official child custody papers?

I know this costs money but I’d sure prefer my tax dollars to help U.S.-born women and children out of their quagmire instead of giving that money to programs like Calworks—as long as Calworks continues to give support funds for anchor babies (who are the citizens) so their parents can learn a trade (which they can’t legally do anyway because they don’t have authorization to work in the U.S.!). Calworks was intended to be a program for people like this woman, so she cold become self-sufficient and get away from what is no doubt an abusive situation.

This is another case where the perpetrator/criminal has more rights than the victim. Makes me sick.

I hope the woman got what she needed and was able to get to SoCal to the arms of her family.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Sears Point NASCAR weekend—why I miss it and why I don’t

As I mentioned in my post from a couple of days ago, I used to be one of the nurses in the “infield care center” at Sears Point (now Infineon Raceway—I hate those naming rights things!) from 1992 to 2000. I earned the right to work at the “clinic” for those four days by becoming a member of the San Francisco Region Sports Car Club of America (SSCA) and volunteering to provide emergency medical care at club races at Laguna Seca (close to where I live), along with some professional events. Once a year I’d venture up to Sonoma to work the Sears Point NASCAR race. It was my vacation, the one thing I looked forward to each year, my Christmas and New Year’s all rolled into one.

When I first started to work the race, the NASCAR guys actually took to the track on Thursday for practice, then qualifying on Friday afternoon after several more practices, a couple of Saturday practice sessions and then Sunday’s race. But in the mid-1990s NASCAR decided to “cut costs” and let the big boys play on the track starting on Friday. So on Thursday, only club racers and the lesser NASCAR series, called the Southwest Tour, were on the track. There was a skeleton crew but I was there—even if few other on-track workers were. I put in 10–12 hour days, made sure that the proper paperwork and medical charts were filled out when a driver or crew person came in (I didn’t see civilians—only NASCAR or SCCA people). The doctors were also volunteers and were usually very devoted to providing the very best medical care possible, even with limited supplies or medications on hand. On race mornings, I was there at 6 or 7 a.m., as soon as the garage area opened, in case something happened before the doctors got there at 9.

The first race I worked was at Laguna Seca, an IMSA event, in 1991. I’d attended the Sears Point race and went looking for information on how to be one of those people on the track. I hit the jackpot—being an RN, even one with a bad back, my skills were needed. And I would be given unique access to both tracks, able to go places that spectators could not go. The people in the club itself were fun, and the medical people, all much older than me, were people I could learn much from.

My first NASCAR event worked was 1992’s race. We didn’t yet have the nice building that is there today—we were in a dusty trailer truly in the infield, at the start line at the drag strip. The garage area (there was no garage, only the team haulers enclosed within a temporary cyclone fence) was across the track—very inconvenient! But we did out level best, and did treat people. Most of the problems were due to oversampling of Napa Valley wines. I spent my time sitting in an ambulance, or on a rescue truck, as the clinic had a couple of nurses older than I with much more “seniority” if you will.

That year was also the first time I was plopped in front of Bill Elliott. The EMT I’d been working with that weekend and I were dispatched to one of the rigs to check up on a crew person that one of the docs had treated, and the doctor wanted me to be able to make a final note and close the chart. The EMT I was with, a gal named Annie, had suffered a career-ending ankle injury. So there we were, two gimps, getting to walk into the garage area, past civilians standing by the gate waiting for their favorite driver. On race morning, when all of the mechanics were frantically doing last-minute tweaks to their cars.

Annie took me to Bill Elliott’s hauler, and spoke to one of the guys. I stood back, nervous as all get-out. I am not shy, but this was Bill Elliott! The guy motioned for me to come toward him, and he said “Go stand by that door [at the side of the hauler] and wait there.”

It happened too fast—out came Bill, I was speechless. I babbled something about he was the reason I was there, the reason I watched NASCAR, and that when he quit, I quit. He laughed and said, “You should be more grateful I have a guy like Henry (the truck driver) who drives the rig here. He’s the hero.” [It had been Henry who plopped me in front of the hauler door.]

Anyway, Bill signed my brand-new #11 Budweiser jacket across the shoulders, I posed for a photo that Annie took, and off I went.

For that race, I worked on the rescue ambulance at the hairpin turn. (I think it was called turn 7, it’s no longer used by NASCAR, replaced by something very boring called “the chute.”) That day, Bill lead the most laps, but because of a set of slightly off tires at the last pit stop, he was unable to hold on to the lead and ended up fifth. That year, Bill was in the hunt for the championship, too.

I walked off the track headed into the garage area to use the bathroom. Lo and behold, who was walking off the track at the same time as me? Yeppers, Bill. I asked him where that finish put him in the points and he held up two fingers. I said “good luck the rest of the season and see you next year,” and he said goodbye and thanks for being there. I could hear spectators ask the gate guard, "Why does she get to go in there and who is she anyway?" It was awesome. People were jealous of me.

My worst nightmare would have been having to work on Bill after an accident, but that never happened. Yes, I did work on some drivers. One year, when Bill did not make the trip to California because of a bad wreck at Talladega (he fractured his femur), I chewed out the driver who was taking Bill’s place (Tommy Kendall) when he wrecked what was a very good car during a Friday practice session. He had to come in and be checked over after taking a pretty hard lick. This was the #94 car, Bill’s team, a car that did not win a single race, an exercise in futility for Bill and frustration for his fans who knew he was a better driver than his finishes showed.

Eventually we got a proper building to use for our clinic. The track of course had no money for decent equipment so most of the stuff we had was Navy surplus, as the doctor in charge was retired Navy. We had beds, and privacy partitions, and IVs and a simple pharmacy stocked with sample medications.

The volunteer doctors eventually shared duties with proper emergency room doctors who were paid to show up. A couple were excellent clinicians, though one irritated the heck out of me when he asked for freebies after he’d treat a crew person, owner or driver. He did this for two years, until the third year, we asked him not to do that anymore and he refused to take the gig again.

Toward the end an LVN joined the club, and time and time again I watched her do things that were outside the practice of an LVN’s license (even stuff beyond the scope of my license!) and I began to fear that she’d do something and I’ be held liable. I actually watched her “try” to treat an insulin-dependent diabetic who’d left his insulin at home by giving him oral hypoglycemics she’d taken from the doctor’s office where she worked. I told her to send the guy to the hospital, period. Only by the grace of God was that man not harmed by her actions.

So the writing was on the wall that the SCCA’s medical team would no longer be needed. Every year was supposed to be our last from about 1997. The last year ended up being 2000, though we had no way of knowing for sure.

That year, I watched the Saturday support race from the garage area, standing on a slightly raised area, right next to Dale Earnhardt. There was no question that I would bug him for anything—by that point I was beyond asking the drivers for autographs or freebies. It just wasn’t right.

That year was Dale Earnhardt’s last Sears Point race. He died at Daytona the following February.

After Dale died, the powers-that-be of NASCAR (Bill France and his son Brian) started making changes to the sport that I just didn’t like. Supposedly sponsors wanted young talent, up and coming kids, pretty guys, marketable guys. There were drivers who had little talent but who could string together a sentence and not have a heavy southern accent.

Bill's last full season of driving in a competitive car was 2003.

My heart was not into the idea of attending that race as a spectator, so I quit the club, quit volunteering for even Laguna Seca races, and let that part of my life go, something that had made me feel of value while I struggled through my back surgeries.

I wonder if I’d still be working that race though. Bill has mostly retired from the sport, and I seldom watch a race unless he’s in it, and even then it’s frustrating because he doesn’t do well—subpar equipment, subpar part-time crew, underfunded presumably because Bill’s not a 20 or 30-something guy without a southern accent. Bill will be 54 years of age in October, and can still drive the wheels off a car.

I tried to watch today’s race, the tenth one that’s gone on without me (I missed the inaugural event in 1989, having suffered my career-ending back injury mere weeks before the race). There is no way I could traipse up those hills to the seats that have been installed at the top of the hill. There is no way I could deal with the grandstand that replaced the Southwest Tour’s garage area and parking lot. I don’t have a favorite driver and I’m sick of Kasey Kahne, Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson being shoved down my throat. I was used to watching from the clinic, with a television monitor, waiting for something to happen.

Seems that event, like so many others I’ve had to let go because of my back, might not be worth my time anymore. But I miss the people and I miss the simple heartfelt thank yous I used to get when I gave my best effort in getting the crews, drivers and their families the best medical care possible in a MASH setting.

I don’t have anything in my life right now that made me feel as whole and valued though …

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Well that was easy ...

I have been seriously thinking about which Republican candidate for California governor I'd like to throw my hat behind. I've decided who gets my vote—the candidate who speaks most for me.

Tom Campbell.

He's pro-choice, pro-gay rights (listen people, we have bigger problem right now then to put great effort to opposing these things. God will sort it all out in the end...), and most importantly a fiscal conservative who understands economics. No throwing a bunch of paper in front of him and dazzling him with political bullshit. He's well-educated but he's also done plenty of time in the trenches (unlike a certain "community organizer" who is currently running the United States into the ground!). He's an attorney and earned a Ph.D. in economics.

Perhaps most importantly, while serving as a member of the 102nd Congress, Campbell was named the most frugal member of Congress by the National Taxpayers Union Foundation.

Easy choice for me! Now I need to find a nice candidate to become a Senator and hopefully be rid of the two tax-and-spend liberal wackjobs we are currently stuck with!

Friday, June 19, 2009

NASCAR and its “Youth Movement,” drug testing and the Jeremy Mayfield fiasco

Bill Elliott after he won the Winston Million, 1985 (Getty Images)

You might be wondering why in God’s name am I even thinking about this! Come on, NASCAR is a redneck southern state sport!

The truth is I used to be a passionate follower of this sport from the mid-1980s up until 2003. I started paying attention to the sport after reading about a driver who was eligible to win a million dollars if he won the race at Darlington (Southern 500) on Labor Day weekend, 1985. His name was Bill Elliott.

Bill and his brothers were truly a rags-to-riches story, except the riches never seemed to go to their heads. The Elliotts never went all Hollywood like today’s NASCAR drivers. They were honest, clever, and did much with limited resources early in Bill’s driving career, which started in 1976. Bill ultimately won his first race at Riverside (the location of that challenging road track is now a bunch of tract houses, how sad!), and was the first NASCAR driver to be featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated.

After Dale Earnhardt died following an accident at the end of the 2001 Daytona 500, NASCAR went bonkers with really stupid changes. All of a sudden there was this emphasis on youth, “Young Guns,” and for whatever reason the “old guys” (anyone over 40) was squeezed out of his ride (Sterling Marlin, who was dropped by his team because the sponsor, Coors, wanted a younger guy) or saw the writing on the wall and retired (Rusty Wallace). After the 2003 season, Bill went to part-time after helping Ray Evernham Motorsports build a competitive team. Bill was in the Top Ten in points that last season. He had plenty more in him, but he claimed he wanted to spend more time with his young son.

Since that time, Bill’s been kicked around, taking rides as favors to owners here and there, and is now in a very part-time effort for the legendary Woods Brothers (#21). The car is usually not very competitive.

Consequently, watching the races is no longer must-see TV for me. (Somewhere I have two photos of me with Bill at his hauler at Sears Point in 1993 and 1994.)

As for the Mayfield thing …

NASCAR implemented random drug testing this season after a Truck Series driver admitted he used heroin the same day as he’d race. So every weekend NASCAR would have a computer randomly select drivers, owners and crew for random testing. NASCAR never really released a list of banned substances, but come on. This is about performance-enhancing drugs.

For nine years, between 1992 and 2000, I was one of the nurses at the infield care center (actually in the garages at Sears Point). We had copies of each driver’s physical exam and list of prescription drugs the driver may have been on. If we needed to prescribe anything, we were asked to use good judgment and not give anything that could impair the driver or give him an unfair advantage. That meant no decongestants or antihistamines with pseudoephedrine. There was one time when we needed to prescribe an albuterol inhaler for asthma that was induced by allergies, and we asked NASCAR for approval. One of the side effects is an elevated heart rate and wakefulness (but only if the guy overdid it!). The driver was given permission to use the drug that weekend only, and had to follow up with his personal doctor when he got back to NC.

Mayfield tested positive for three drugs on May 9—and he quickly manned up and admitted to those drugs being Adderall and Claritin-D, which would react as amphetamines. However, there was a third drug identified, an illegal street drug with no therapeutic value. It has since been leaked that drug was meth.

Mayfield isn’t one of my favorite guys. Just as he was beginning to become successful on the NASCAR circuit, he dumped his first wife, Christina, who I believe was working as a hairdresser and supported Mayfield while he hung around the NASCAR garage looking for rides, building race cars for local Kentucky tracks. He left Christina for the person who is now his wife. I remember seeing Christina in the garage area—not gorgeous, but a sweet unassuming person. This new one was a total Barbie, and I laughed as she followed Mayfield all over the garage area, dressed to the nines in strappy sandals, her hair impeccably cut and highlighted, sitting on the pit box, following him to the port-a-potty and standing outside waiting for him.

I question his need for the Adderall. I found a timeline for Mayfield’s troubles, and he was prescribed the drug after a 30-minute appointment just this past March (2009) with a non-specialist doctor who gave him the drug for ADHD. Please. The guy is now 40 years old. I’m speculating he asked for the drug for weight loss or to help him withstand the rigors of owning his own racecar team. He claims NASCAR knew he was taking the drug.

I cannot imagine NASCAR just saying “oh that’s cool, you finally decided you have ADHD at the age of 40.”

NASCAR is a dictatorship and most all of the decisions made by the guy currently in charge have killed any interest the sport used to have for me. But drug testing was long overdue. And common sense should dictate—just look at the list of banned substances for the Olympics, the NHL, MLB, etc. Heck, there are therapeutic drugs that elite swimmers aren’t allowed to take, even if they need them to live (albuterol comes to mind for asthmatics). And one current NHL player, Jose Theodore, is banned from international competition for another year or so (I think) for using Rogaine for hair loss (Rogaine is used as a masking agent).

Mayfield should be suspended permanently for the Adderall alone. I could understand his needing the drug if he had the actual chemical disorder that causes ADHD and ADD. But he’s gone for nearly 40 years without a publicly-disclosed diagnosis, why now?

NASCAR did the right thing in this case, and I don’t say that very often.

Now if someone would give Bill Elliott a good ride for a year or two, I might be lured back to the track and making NASCAR must-see television on the weekends.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Lock the cell and throw away the key!

I know there are more pressing things to worry about in the news (I’ve been mulling over some of the outrageous things that TOTUS and his band of merry kool aid drinkers have done) but the recent arrest of the teenager who has been killing beloved pet cats in Miami area just got me angry enough to type yet again.

Look at the two faces at the bottom of this page—my cats Ryan and Cammi. I have others I love just as much—Scottie and Matt, a pair of tabbies. These cats get food before I do—if money is short, I’m eating ramen and cheese, they still get their Royal Canin 33 premium food. My cats are important to me, and I am sure the owners of the cats carved up in Miami loved theirs just as much.

The authorities began to investigate this case when residents and pet owners in two neighborhoods, Palmetto Bay and Cutler Bay, reported finding beloved pet cats killed and mutilated in their yards. There have been 30 cat deaths in the neighborhood, and 19 of those have finally been traced to a single killer—18-year old Tyler Hayes Weinman. I’m not going to post his mug shot, but suffice it to say he sure doesn’t look terribly upset that he’s been arrested. Basically, he looks smug.

Four of the cats killed lived on the same street as Weinman.

Reporters who went to the suspect’s home, presumably to interview his mother, found a welcome mat with pictures of pawprints on it, and the message “Wipe your paws,” along with a sticker near the door informing fire and law enforcement that a feline resided in the home.

Weinman graduated from high school this spring. Instead of looking for a summer job, he’s in jail on a $154,500 bond. Guess he decided his summer job would be killing cats …

If there is anything in this horrible crime to be happy about, it’s that this kid killed those cats in Florida, a state that’s a bit tougher on crime than here in California. Weinman is charged with 19 counts each of animal cruelty and improperly disposing of an animal body, and four counts of burglary related to the deaths. If convicted, he faces pretty much life in prison (158 years by one report).

Here in California, we’d be asked to “understand” him and be told “he’s sick and needs therapy.” He might do a bit of time for burglary, or some DA would let him plea to something that amounts to little more than a slap on the wrist.

I am not a tort-crazy person either—I hate the idea of frivolous law suits. But in this case, I hope that the owners of those poor felines get together and sue the socks off of this kid and his custodial parent. I also trust that the Miami-Dade County DA remember a lesson from Serial Killers 101—that many serial killers start out by practicing on small animals. I am sure a Florida jury will also do the right thing—guilty as charged. Put this kid in the big house with the big boys—I think pet killers rate as high as rapists and child murderers.

Next time I promise to rant about TOTUS. Or my father’s greedy widow. Whichever irritates me the most first…

AP story about the arrest of this despicable kid here.

P.S. Cammi cat is feeling much better, too! She's back to her little princess ways, demanding a can of Weruva or Tiki Cat (fish flesh) canned food twice a day!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

sick kitty

My little girl cat, Cammi, is a bit under the weather and took a $350 trip to the vet on Saturday. She started vomiting on Thursday night and she's really not been much interested in food since then.

She had lab work drawn, which will be back on Monday afternoon. Poor baby also got 100 ml of subcutaneous fluids and a shot of Reglan. She's going to get Reglan twice a day. Earlier she ate about a tablespoon of Tiki Cat tuna and then some tuna juice and a few flakes of people tuna, which she upchucked about an hour later. 
Poor tiny thing is crying and just wants me to make it better.
I sure hope she gets to feeling better soon. Bless her sweet little heart, she's miserable and I'd happily take her place. I'm easier to reason with. She doesn't understand how important it is that she eats. I'm going to get some plain Pediaylte tomorrow and try to sneak that into her. She's not even interested in Gerber baby meats. Yes, she's a sick kitty! 

I'll sneak into work on Monday morning so I can take her back to the v-e-t if need be on Monday afternoon.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Publications that could make a difference

I’ve spent the bulk of this week working on a publication titled “The Role of Transportation in Campus Emergency Planning.” I know, it sounds like a yawner, but it’s actually interesting and the author is a very well known expert on emergency planning and implementation of those plans. Her name is Dr. Frances Edwards.

Under normal circumstances I am surrounded by raging liberals at work, some of whom create “studies” that promote their liberal way of thinking or promote socialism (or thoughts toward socialism). Sometimes it’s hard for me to read some of it, and I’ve been going through hell with one author who created a study that I don’t agree with at all! But this publication I’ve been working on has been a pleasure to work on, and the author herself has so much knowledge of emergency stuff, and has extensively studied 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina—what went right and what went wrong. And yes, some things did go right in both situations! Don't hear about those in the media now, do we?

Dr. Edwards is the Deputy Director, for the National Transportation Security Center at the Mineta Transportation Institute. She used to be the Director of Emergency Preparedness for the city of San José and is now a professor of political science at San Jose State University.  She’s one of those rare academics who has been out in the trenches, full of life experiences and knowledge and she’s working toward educating the next generation of emergency planners.  It has been my pleasure to work with her on a couple of publications—they are always readable and there is no hidden agenda whatsoever. She’s so smart and so easy to communicate with—I’m almost sorry I have her publication nearly finished; she writes chapters for books on emergency services so to be able to do one of her publications is an honor and inspirational. Because of her writings, I’ve volunteered for my county’s emergency services corp, and I’m taking classes to bring me up to speed. Okay so a hospital doesn’t want me, but if there’s an emergency, I’m better than not having anyone around!

Anyway, I was fortunate to be able to visit with Dr. Edwards for awhile, asking for her input in creating this most recent publication to ensure maximum reader usability. She knows so much about 9/11 and the Katrina aftermath and events that lead to so many of the things we keep reading about in the media—why are there still people living in FEMA trailers? Why are so many homes not repaired or rebuilt? Is the neighborhood that was most flooded going to become open space, because rebuilding is asking for trouble?

Dr. Edwards’ publication should end up in the hands of college presidents and perhaps even high school superintendents. It’s hard to think of a college campus as an asset in time of emergency (it’s easier to think of the campus itself being under attack a la Virginia Tech) but a campus can be an excellent community resource—it’s just a matter of planning for whatever potential disaster is out there!

There is another author that I enjoy working with as much as working with Dr. Edwards, and that is Brian Michael Jenkins. He served as a Special Ops Green Beret in the Dominican Republic and in Vietnam, and is a decorated combat veteran. He is a walking encyclopedia on counterterrorism measures. He authors publications on terrorism and how to protect transportation against acts of terrorism. He’s not in the Bay Area a great deal, so getting the time to steal any sort of conversation with him is a real treat. For Brian, 9/11 isn't a matter of "if"—it's a matter of "where" and "when." He has definite ideas as to where ... 

When I am given the opportunity to work with Dr. Edwards and Mr. Jenkins, I feel as if I am doing something that just might benefit the United States—provided politicians take that advice and don’t get into pissy posturing.

Which unfortunately happens all too often. If those pissy politicians would just be a bit more worried about individuals and organizations and other nations that don’t like the United States, I’d feel a whole lot safer. I don’t feel safe with the current commander-in-chief groveling at the feet of Middle Eastern “princes” and dictators. 

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