Anyone but me wonder what the heck was/is going on down in Orlando this week?
First I hear that some guy has run into an office building in downtown and shot the place up, killing one person and wounding five more.
Then I hear that the guy was shooting in the offices of an engineering firm and was an engineer himself.
I know that for various product related reasons that some people might want to kill engineers--like I for a while wanted to maim the guys that designed the 1984 Pontiac Fiero when it spent most of its first six months of my ownership in the Dealer's shop rather than in my Garage.
Engineers SHOOTING PEOPLE?
I thought that usually if an engineer wanted to kill you, their weapon of choice would be to BORE YOU TO DEATH.
You know--talking about interesting things like fluid flow and heat transfer coefficients, soil bearing capacity, electrical impedance, or the effect of long chain polymer chemistry on the tensil strength of ultra high density polyethylene (UHDPE for short.)
Although I can talk about all of that stuff, I generally don't break it out in casual conversation in a bar or at Thanksgiving dinner...BUT...
If I really wanted to hurt you I would generally assault you through your ears and mind (and possibly your eyes if you had to look at me while I was talking.)
On second thought, I guess that some people could think that engineers routinely kill people when airliners fall out of the sky or bridges collapse or their new white Toyota Prias squashes like a grape when it comes in contact with the front bumper of my old Chevy Suburban at 60 MPH.
Problem is, those events are hardly ever attributed to an actual engineering design flaw...they're usually owner and/or operator induced failures.
For instance, most "uncontrolled contact with terrain events" a.k.a. "air disasters" are initially caused by inexperienced pilots flying into bad weather or running a perfectly good airplane out of gas.
And military and commercial aircraft, while closely scrutinized, usually fail because of the enormous numbers of hours that they're in the air and issues relating to maintenance mistakes or the shear parts fatigue of their demanding daily operations.
And you certainly can't blame the engineers when they are technically unable to build a box with an electric motor and wheels that gets 50 MPG and can also withstand a potential assault by a 6,000 pound Suburban or a 80,000 tractor trailer rig when they try to occupy the same piece of asphalt.
All of these theoretical incidents involve owners and operators assuming what they believe to be an acceptable amount of calculated RISK based on the initial cost of the equipment and the operating and maintenance cost of the systems (plane, train, car, bridge, whatever) after purchase.
Bridges that have lasted 40 years don't fall down because of an engineering design flaw, they generally fail because the local, state, and federal governments take the gas taxes from the bridge users at the gas pump and spend the "highway" money in other areas like child welfare programs or "stimulus packages" rather than inspecting and repairing and possibly REPLACING the bridge before it drops a couple of mini-vans full of children into the Ohio River.
And modern airliners don't fly safely for 10 years and then have a wing or engine tear off while your tray table and seat back are in the upright and locked position. It's not the guy with the calculator and pocket protector's inadequacy.
Things end up breaking off these days as a result of everyone wanting to fly from Atlanta to Detroit for $199 a seat--a price less that the cost of the gasoline I'd burn in my Suburban-and the Airlines having to cut costs to provide that kind of ticket pricing and still stay solvent.
As a result of the flying public wanting cheap air fair, the airlines are forced to cut quality of service, charge fees for everything except using the restroom, and fly older and older planes by doing things like major rebuilds--called "life cycle extension programs."
Then they and their low fair paying passengers end up together in uncharted performance territory in a process of delaying or avoiding the purchase of new zillion dollar airplanes.
And what is the one additional thing that the safety of bridges and airplanes and automobile have in common?
G O V E R N M E N T.
We have the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration), the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board), and the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) all spending BILLIONS if not TRILLIONS of taxpayer dollars each year writing laws and rules and legislating things like that your car has to automatically lock the doors and turn on the headlights, yet about 44,000 people die each year in auto accidents.
And all of the states have passed seat belt laws, but don't a bunch of people still die while not wearing a seat belt? They drive at the risk of paying a "fine"--actually more practically a tax--for exercising their free choice and thereby assuming a level of risk they are personally accountable for.
...taking a big breath here...
Now back to my original point.
I bet $20 bucks that within the MONTH that some stupid eco friendly sniveling, booger eating, tree hugging
They just can't help themselves, and with the events of the past week their "never waste an disaster" mentality will drive them over the edge again.
I repeat over and over and over that we don't need new laws limiting LAW ABIDING citizens rights of gun ownership and further, their rights to carry a gun.
IT'S ALREADY AGAINST THE LAW TO WALK UP AND SHOOT SOMEONE, and if more trained and licensed private citizens were allowed to legally carry guns into churches and theaters and on college campuses, most of the events making the news over the past ten or twenty years would have been limited else prevented outright.
Further, it was already ILLEGAL--an outright gun ban was in place-- on of all places the military base in Texas, yet that asshole simply drove on base with not one but two guns and shot a bunch of un-armed soldiers and civilians.
I somehow find it amazing that the military has taken a policy of locking almost every one of their guns and ammo up and relying on the MP's and private security forces to maintain their security functions.
I bet if the guy had walked into a US military base in 1944 or 1952, pulled out a gun and fired a shot, that twenty different people would have drawn their own weapons and blown his miserable head off.
Instead, in 2009 some guy walks into a government mandated "gun free zone" and fires OVER A HUNDRED FREAKING ROUNDS before someone manages to draw a bead on him and drop him (I wish they had killed the bastard so we won't have to spend ten million on a trial.)
I see it like this...most of these crazy spineless morons like the Texas and Florida (and Virginia Tech and Columbine) shooters would never walk into a Saloon in California in 1875 and start shooting if they knew that everyone else in the room had one if not two guns on their person, would they?
If they did they would get what they deserved and the only "due process" remaining when the smoke cleared would be to pick up the pieces and mop the floor.
Anybody agree with me here?
Well, finally, in closing (and in jest,) don't be surprised if, as a result of the Orlando shootings, some kook legislator will try to pass a new law designed to require Engineers to register in a database like "sexual predators." (I think maybe they call it the State PE Licensing Board...Roy)
As a result they'll also probably want to make us stay at least a hundred yards away from libraries and technical bookstores.
And then if someone opens a computer store in my neighborhood, being an engineer I'd likely be forced to sell my house and move at least a mile away.
These same kinds of laws and procedures and mandates are in effect today at government mandate in the name of "protecting women and children", and you see the outcome...children are still disappearing and dieing at an alarming rate.
Government can't control anyone but law abiding citizens, and all I'm saying here Ladies and Gentlemen is that you just watch what happens, and try to think logically and intelligently rather than reacting emotionally.
In my considered Redneck opinion, "There aught to be a law..." isn't always true, and I don't want to give up any more of my Constitutional and God given freedoms to our hysterical, power grabbing government.