Thursday, May 31, 2012

Calls to 9-1-1 from whiners and liars can keep officers from real calls

By Mike Ullery
Chief Photographer

"I'm gonna tell. I'm gonna tell on you!"

How many of us heard that phrase during our childhood? Those same threats are still being made today. My guess is that the same whiners are making them.

The proliferation of cell phones have turned whiners into ... dangerous frequent whiners. Many of them are just liars who have an ax to grind.

I am talking about the enormous, (in my opinion), number of calls received by Miami County 9-1-1 that range from much ado about nothing to flat-out exaggerations and lies.

Law enforcement officials receive a number of calls during any given week to check out a reported "child endangering." Granted, officials cannot afford to take any call lightly. Each one is investigated.
What so often happens is that it is just a parent dealing with a family situation. Most of the time, they are just disciplining their child. Usually, it involves a parent, who believes as I do, that teaching a child right from wrong must occasionally involve a spanking, or similar punishment. Nowadays, if this happens within site of some bleeding-heart do-gooder, they call the police and a good parent finds themselves explaining their actions.

Another frequent report to police is of animals not receiving proper care. Usually, these calls report inadequate shelter or no food and/or water available to the pet. Again, no one wants to see an animal mis-treated. But, the cell phone whiners society just loves to stir the pot so they call to make a report. Sometimes, officers find a situation which warrants action. All too often, officers find that the report was somewhere between exaggerated and false.

People make accusations of vicious dogs. More often than not, the truth is, again in my opinion, that the caller is, in fact, just scared of dogs, period. Oh, and it seems to me that every caller who is making a complaint about a vicious or loose dog is observing a Pit Bull. It does not seem to matter that the true description of the dog running loose in the neighborhood is actually a ten pound bundle of fur with a wagging tail who is just enjoying his momentary freedom. The cell phone whiner reports ... a Pit Bull.

The same thing goes for many calls regarding "reckless drivers." How many of these calls are simply cases of a driver cutting someone off in a lapse of attention or judgement so the driver who was cut off thinks, "I'll show you." They then call 9-1-1 to report someone "Weaving all over the road, cutting off drivers ..."

I know for a fact, that most calls for assistance to the 9-1-1 center are real. I am not suggesting that anyone hesitate calling to report a real crime or emergency situation.

What I am saying, at the same time, is to stop and think before making a reactionary call to report something that just makes you mad.

Just because you don't like that someone is disciplining their child does not mean that they do not have the right to do so and it certainly does not give you the right to interfere.

If you see a child playing somewhere that doesn't seem right, how about doing things the old-fashioned way? Stop peering through your window shades, get off your lazy butt and go outside to see what is going on. Who knows, you might even meet your neighbor in person. What a novel concept.

I would like to see officers begin citing individuals who make complaints about non-existent problems or are just doing their best to exact revenge on someone who made them mad.

I would like to see that, but officers are already too busy running down calls for people who really need help. They don't have time to deal with even more frivolous things.

The bottom line is that if you need assistance or have a real crime to report, please call 9-1-1. If you do not have a legitimate reason for calling an emergency call center, what you are doing is potentially keeping emergency personnel away from someone whose life might depend on a quick response.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Memorial Day: A time to remember and give thanks.

By Mike Ullery
Chief Photographer

As we approach the commencement of another class of seniors from area schools it got me thinking, as so often happens, as these young adults prepare to take their next steps in life.

Like every class before them, some will choose to serve our country by entering the military.

I have been re-reading "Goodbye Darkness: A Memoir of the Pacific War," a book written by William Manchester and published in 1980. Before becoming a very successful author, Manchester was a United States Marine during World War II.

In the book, Manchester talks about his personal experiences during the war and chronicles many of the events that took place during war. He also chronicles his 1978-79 journey to visit many of the Pacific islands where some of the deadliest battles ever fought took place and his effort to come to terms with his own demons, the same ones faced by most who have ever fought a war.

Like most military service men and women, Manchester was basically a pacifist. Very few men can enter a situation where they are there to kill others while watching friends die in the worst imaginable ways, and knowing they they could suffer the same fate at any moment ... yet, they continue to do the job anyway, and not be affected.

Manchester questions from his 1979 perspective, how thousands of young Marines could bring themselves, during the bloody battle for Tarawa, to wade though waist to chest-deep water for hundreds of yards, in their attempt to make it to shore while hundreds, if not thousands, of Japanese machine guns and rifles hammered away at the defenseless Marines. The carnage was indescribable, yet those young American Marines never faltered.

Our Marines did take Tarawa but at a cost of more than 3,100 dead and wounded.

Manchester's question, and now mine, is what kind of person does it take to perform in such a manner and could, or would, today's generation of kids do that same thing, if called upon? We obviously hope that such a thing will never again be necessary, but if it would, what would happen?

In his book, Manchester concluded that the youth of the seventies had evolved into a generation who would not obey orders to knowingly and willingly enter a situation where thousands might be cut down in minutes.

I ask, how would America's parents react? Would Americans stand for another conflict such as the Second World War? Would they allow our leaders to put our youth into a similar situation? We were, indeed, a different country then. And yes, I believe a better country.

Still, no matter how things used to be, today's youth are still "going to bat" for our country. Every day, our country's military men and women knowingly put themselves in harm's way.

The number of men and women and the manner in which they face the enemy has evolved, I guess we could say in a "good" way. Americans are no longer required to "take a beach" by sending thousand of exposed troops into the muzzles of the enemy. But they are still out there putting their lives on the line for the rest of us.

One might look at it that our Japanese and German foes of the 1940's at least had the courage to wear a uniform and fight in an honorable fashion, or at least as honorable as war can be. The foes that face our troops today are most decidedly cowards who hide behind women and children and prefer techniques of ambush and suicide bombers.

The common denominator is that our own children fighting current conflicts all possess the same sense of duty and honor shared by our fathers and grandfathers. Thank God for all of them.

As we celebrate this Memorial Day weekend, please remember our remaining World War II veterans,  our "Greatest Generation," who fought in a truly worldwide conflict. Let us also remember all of our other veterans of all wars and conflicts.

Most importantly, remember those thousands of Americans who fell in battle protecting our families, our country and our way of life.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Underage party not the end of the world

By Mike Ullery
Chief Photographer
Another prom season has come — and gone.

The good news is that our kids all came through it safely. The bad news is that there were a few bumps in the road for some.

As sometimes happens, some of our kids were involved in a a party that included underage consumption of alcohol. The resulting uproar produced a number of expected, and some unexpected, reactions.

As so often happens, a lot of the heat was turned toward the Piqua Daily Call because we made the decision to report the incident and publish the names of those involved.

To address that particular issue, there is no law that prohibits a newspaper from publishing the identities of accused subjects, including juveniles.

Sometimes the decision to publish information, and the related names, is not a popular one. Which side of the line one stands on, usually depends on if one is, is related to, or is friends with, an involved subject.

That fact of the matter is that a group of respected young residents, did in fact, have a party and were caught with alcoholic beverages. Were their actions illegal? Yes. Was it the end of the world? Not at all.

One way to look at this is that potential tragedy may have been averted. It is entirely possible that if one, or more, of these kids had left the party and attempted to drive, prom weekend could have taken a more tragic turn.

As it was, no one was hurt. A few egos may have been bruised. Those involved are going to have to face the consequences of their actions. But, it is not the end of the world for anyone.

These are good kids. They are a bright hope for the future of Piqua and for themselves. Everyone makes mistakes. Let's just be happy that these mistake, in the grand scheme of things, were minor.

How many of you, during the course of this story, probably related to friends, family or co-workers an incident from "the good old days," when you were involved in a questionable activity? Yes, I know. Most of us have a story or two.

In a nutshell, our kids learned a life lesson. Sometimes, the best lessons sting a little. That way, they are better remembered.

My message to the kids involved is, don't let this get you down. Yes, you made a mistake and will have to pay the price. It is okay to be ashamed of what you did, but do not be ashamed of yourself. Your accomplishments far outweigh this setback so move on and continue to live life.

You are all just getting a good start on life's path. Hang in there. We are counting on you.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Same-sex marriage and an election year ...let the fireworks begin

By Mike Ullery
Chief Photographer
I don't know about the rest of you but I will be so happy when the upcoming presidential election is finished.

You may, or may not, have noticed that television ads are beginning to take up more time slots than scheduled programming.

What is sad — actually just downright disgusting, is that the stuff we are hearing could make Pinocchio jealous.

The latest hot topic is changing laws to allow same-sex marriages. North Carolina held an election this week that would allow for same-sex couples to wed. The measure was soundly defeated.
Liberals have been coming unglued since the election. They claim that everyone has the right to make their own choices and marry whomever they choose.

The majority of Americans seem to still believe that marriage is a religious, or faith-based, action first and foremost. The governmental status of marriage is an entirely different issue. In other words, marriage, in the eyes of God, is one man and one woman.

What strikes me as I watch current events unfold is that all of the voices we hear are those crying loudly that same-sex marriage should be legalized and that they, the liberal masses, are being discriminated against because gays are not allowed to marry.

The media, in their ever-present bias reporting ways, manages to film, interview and focus on pro-gay marriage individuals and groups. To read and see the media coverage, one would swear that 99.9 percent of Americans supports same-sex marriage.

Why, then, do such issues get voted down by such wide margins? Could it be that the big media organizations are ignoring the majority of the people? Could the liberal media be attempting to sway public opinion by telling only one side of the story?

Part of the reason is that America has such a mind-set of political correctness, those who are in the majority are afraid to speak out publicly because they will be branded as anti-gay and chastised mercilessly.

Americans are being brainwashed into following the leader — or should I say dictator. We are being "trained" to forget our religious beliefs and go with the flow ... as seen through rose-colored liberal glasses.

That brings us to President Barack Obama's latest wolf-in-sheep's-clothing remark. Our president is now on record as being in favor of gay marriage. Guess what folks? It is an election year. Obama has not spoken a word of truth since taking office. He is one of the most crooked politicians in American history and all he wants is to get re-elected. Of course he is in favor of same-sex marriage.

This is the same man who has been photographed failing to salute the American flag. This is the same man who has repeatedly apologized to foreign countries for America's actions.

Now hear this, Barack Obama cannot be trusted.

As for same-sex marriage, the only equitable solution is to recognize "marriage" as what it is, a religious union of a man and a woman — exactly as God intended.
There should be civil union laws for same-sex couples. They should be afforded the same benefits as any other American.

A "couple" in the eyes of American law is fine, but a "married couple", one man and one woman, is only valid in the eyes of God.