Sunday, July 30, 2006

End of weekend rambling

-My wife's summer is officially over as she starts the Willits High School Algebra Academy. The Academy is ran through the University of California with the intent to get 8th graders more prepared for high school, and get them more focused on being students. I really like the message that is sent by the University system. A presenter came to the orientation for students and parents, and really tried to get the kids focused on preparing for college now.
"It isn't like when you and I went to college", stated the U.C. presenter, "Kids need to be focused now and getting prepared now. Too many can't get into selective universities, and many that do can't do the Math or English required."

And one of the best messages I have ever heard from the mouth of someone from the University system was directed to the parents.

"Be parents! Don't ask kids to do their homework. Tell them that it must get done. Don't say 'please' do your homework. Hold them accountable and demand that they meet their responsibility."

-My wife and I graded Economics projects at the Mendocino College Entrepreneurship Academy, which is a two week course for high school and college students regarding business start-up. Involved tasks are financials, website, marketing, radio spots, commercials, and an overall business plan. Some of them were quite impressive. Unfortunately, on the way home from the college, we were passed by a young man doing about 80 mph on the downhill road that exits Mendocino. He didn't slow down, or stop as he approached the intersection of the exit and North State Street. I could only judge that he was going at least 65 when he flew through the intersection and hit the 3' high concrete barrier, tail end popping almost vertical into the air. My wife was already on the phone as we pulled up to his car about 5 seconds after the accident occurred. Amazingly, the young man was crawling out of the destroyed front end of the car and a couple of bystanders dragged him away as it looked like the car was smoking. I can't believe he survived. His airbags were the only thing that saved him. The super irritating thing about the event was the police response. My wife was on the phone seconds after it occurred, but two CHP cars arrived 7 MINUTES after the call! I could have driven to the damn station in three minutes! On top of that, they sauntered over to the kid, almost exactly like the two policemen acted during the home invasion scene in Boy'z in the Hood with Lawrence Fishbourne. It seemed like no big deal! Then, after they confirmed that he was injured (as if my wife explaining that he hit a fucking wall at 65 mph wasn't enough), then they called the paramedics, who arrived about 3 minutes later. But it wasn't over yet. The police officer was trying to get information from the witnesses and the victim/suspect. I tried to explain to him what happened.

"He passed us on the Mendocino College road going about 80, then didn't stop and he must've hit that wall at around 60-70 mph." The others around me (bystanders, some of my ex-students, another colleague from school) agreed.

"No he didn't.", stated the CHP officer.

"Yes, he did. We were right in front of it."

"If he hit that barrier at 60 mph he would have gone through it. He was probably going 30-35."

We were looking at each other in grim amazement. I'd never heard of a police officer who wasn't at the scene of the crime tell a witness that saw the crime that he was wrong, except maybe in mob movies. I have to say, I did get really testy.

"Ok, well, we were only standing right in front of the damn thing and you would figure that since we were here we would know what we saw."

He took down some names, the ambulance took the young man away, and my wife and I, pretty shaken, went home.

Today I found out from my colleague that the kid was 18, and it wasn't mentioned why he didn't stop. What she did find out is that the investigation by the auto wrecker determined that the car had way too much damage for 35, and the report stated that he was at about 70 when he hit the wall. The kid also has internal injuries, and is in the hospital.

So much of that situation is wrong that I wished I was five minutes sooner and not even seen it.
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