The Kt we loved

The Kt we loved
"I just might hurt you if you don't move that camera." — Kt

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Aurora Errata

It now appears that when the Aurora shooter's mother said "You have the right person" she was responding to, "Are you the mother of x?" and not "Is x likely to have shot up a movie theatre?" (P.S. I'm not willing to call him "the accused shooter": he said he did it, so he's the shooter until and unless proven otherwise. Political correctness only makes sense to a point.)

In retrospect, this seems much more plausible than the way it was reported. But my point from the previous post remains: too many folks will—with or without this utterance—think the parents "should have done something".

It also reminds me that for every single case where I've had first-hand knowledge of the facts of a newspaper story, the article was incorrect about at least one significant, objective fact. In one case, I remember them getting the defendant's name and age wrong; in another, they listed someone's work address as their home address. Not that I think any of the reporters involved were deliberately lying—the exigencies of publishing a daily paper mean that such fact-checking is too often overlooked (especially as the newspapers die a slow death).

Just a reminder of what we know: Just 'cause it's in the paper doesn't mean it's true.

Sunday, July 22, 2012


One of the many tragedies of the Aurora shooting is that his mother's reaction was apparently, "You have the right person".

Some people are going to pillory her for that, surely, saying "She knew he wasn't 'right' and should have done something!"

Of course, they're really just exhibiting their ignorance: what do they think she could have done? The guy was 24. That would be "more than 18". Which means that his parents had exactly two choices:
  1. Worry
  2. Try to get him declared incompetent/insane
Given that he was apparently supporting himself in a pretty technical job until just a few weeks ago, #2 is a non-starter: he was more competent at daily life than a lot of people.

So Door #1 was the only option. And his mother's worst fears (well, presumably only most of them—he's still her son, so she's surely glad he's alive) came to pass.

There's no clear or easy answer here. We've decided as a society that we have the right to protect the common good from those who are clearly deranged, but we also strongly value the individual. And that's as it should be: if everyone who fits the criteria for some sort of mental disorder were declared incompetent, we'd have a much larger problem dealing with all those wards of the state, and likely wouldn't actually improve things.

I've said for many years that one of the hallmarks of a nominally free society is that there are times when the society cannot react until it's too late. Random, senseless attacks like this are in that category. The alternatives—explored in 1984 and Minority Report (as well as the former Soviet Union), among many, many others—are clearly much worse.

I wish I could discuss this with Katie. I know she'd have some insights I don't.

On a lighter note, she would have liked this picture. It reminds me of  a visit to the St. Jacobs Farmer's Market in Ontario, near where I grew up, where someone was selling emu oil. Katie asked him if it was from emus or for emus; when he looked confused, she pointed out that "baby oil" isn't from babies. He laughed...a bit nervously. Anyway, from the "In case you wondered" department:

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Hasta Luego

Last week our next-door neighbors and dear friends moved back to their native California. We’ve known them for almost 18 years, ever since a Lincoln Town Car full of kids pulled into the court one day while we were outside playing with Katie. We rushed over and chatted them up: I’ve actually always been a bit surprised we didn’t scare them away!

Fortunately we didn’t. Their then-11-year-old daughter babysat Katie, and when Anita spent 12 days in hospital the year after they moved in, she and her mom were both a huge help. I was fortunate in that I was able to just blow off my job for that period, but there were times when I had to be at the hospital and it would have been too hard for a three-year-old Katie to just hang out, and they took her and kept her entertained.

Over the years, we watched their three kids grow up, becoming two fine young men and a lovely young woman. We swapped recipes, last-minute ingredients, and culinary experiments, spent time together at holidays, celebrated big birthdays, and had silly evenings playing games.

And then in fall 2010, three weeks before Katie’s death, their youngest son was killed in a car accident. As most people would be, we had little idea what we could do to help, but tried our best. And when we found ourselves in a similar position three weeks later, they played a huge role in helping us get through that terrible time.

Since then, we’ve been closer than ever. Neither Anita nor I can imagine having survived without their friendship and love.

But nothing lasts forever, and it was time for them to move back home to be near their daughter (their other son is an Army captain in Afghanistan). We’ve known this was coming for several months, of course, but somehow it was still a shock.

It finally hit home for me the day before they left. I had two garbage cans of weeds sitting by the garage. When I went to take them out for the yard-waste pickup, I found that they were already there. Now that’s obviously a small thing, but how many neighbors know you well enough and are thoughtful enough to do that?

And now they’re gone. Well, not gone gone, obviously: his job is still here, so he’ll be telecommuting and visiting often, and she’ll be visiting too. But we won’t see them every day, and that’s a shock. Their house looks sad and empty without them—as are we.

Until then...

Monday, July 2, 2012

Los Desaparecidos

I’ve been trying for the last two weeks to get up the gumption to rewrite a post I did on the 17th, which was both my birthday and Father’s Day, without success. I think once I’d written it, the catharsis of that thought was complete.

Suffice it to say that it’s not one of my favorite days any more.

I believe I know what happened: I did publish the post, and at least one person saw it, because she mentioned it. But I had the Compose window open on two computers, and must have made some change on the “other” machine, which was showing an unfinished draft, after posting. That overwrote the published version, and also put it back into Draft status. So the final version is now desaparecido. Ah well…into the ether, ne’er to be seen again!