The history of soda portions is super-sized fun. When introduced by McDonalds in 1955, a cup of soda weighed 7 oz. By 2012, however, a 12-ounce soda was considered “kid’s size.” McDonalds, Wendy’s and Burger King all rolled out 42 ounce size single-serving potions called, respectively: Supersize, Great Biggie, and King Size. Since, then, however, those paltry portions have been dwarfed by the Mega Jug at KFC (64 oz), the Beast at ARCO (85 oz), HuMUGous at Kum & Go (100 oz) and the Team Gulp at 7-Eleven (128 oz).
Are you noticing a trend yet? Your keen scientist brains should already be extrapolating future results. My linear regression line indicates that by 2042 a single-serving size will be approximately the capacity of a backyard swimming pool. I call this the LaGrange Point of Soda Evolution. We’ll have achieved something truly special when we’re actually able to swim in our serving sizes.
The point is: We’re a thirsty lot.
With all this in mind, a construction worker name Christopher Lewis of North Charleston recently was having lunch at the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center in Charleston, S.C. He went to the self-serve soda dispenser and got himself a soda refill. And, by doing so, prompted an improbable chain of events that has irrevocably changed the face of law enforcement as we know it. It makes the Twinkie Defense look like child’s play.
Behold the power of liquid candy.
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Drive drunk? I feel that should be classified as “attempted murder.” Society, as usual, doesn’t agree with me. “No jail time for killing four pedestrians while driving with a BAC three times over the legal limit and not even old enough to drink.” That wee bit of difference of opinion on punishment makes me an outlier, I guess. Of course, that’s an extreme example, yet to my way of thinking, punishment in even garden variety DUII cases falls woefully short.
Cheat on your spouse? That should also be “attempted murder.” It’s all so simple to me. Pick up a deadly disease, bring it to your marital bed, and pay it forward with a potential disease that could theoretically kill the person who trusts you the most. There should be serious punishment for that. Far too often the only real punishment is going back to your regular life like nothing ever happened. Not much of a deterrent, eh?
In brief, my point is that without certain and meaningful consequence there is absolutely no limit on behavior. Period.
I believe a certain percentage of people just don’t give a shit. Perhaps they are motivated by drug addiction. Perhaps they are psychopaths and/or sociopaths and it’s what they do. Maybe they were brought into the world and damaged beyond repair by parents, environment and random events. Whatever the reason, it makes little difference in the end. The outcomes are similar. The themes of destruction and causing harm are remarkably consistent.
We tend to expect it from these folks. No big surprises there.
What about the rest of us? We’re good, right?
Hold on. Let’s not be too hasty.
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This week brought the news that a 12-year-old boy in the 8th grade took a loaded sawed-off 20 gauge pump shotgun to his school and opened fire, seriously wounding an 11-year-old boy (shot in the face) and a 13-year-old girl in the school’s gym.
cold… calculated… premeditated… random…
The New Mexico state police stated that the attack was “planned.” Part of that planning included the shooter issuing warnings to friends, advising them to stay away from school.
The 20-gauge shotgun is a type of smoothbore shotgun shell that is smaller in caliber (.615) than a 12 gauge (.729). It is often used as a beginning shooter’s practice round and is noted by its yellow hull.
A 20-gauge shotgun is sometimes considered more suitable for hunting certain types of game, because it damages less meat, which makes it suitable for most game birds.
Source: Wikipedia – 20-gauge shotgun
The firearm was obtained by the shooter from “family members,” the police said. The shooter’s Facebook page featured a picture of the shooter beside a deer he had killed during a hunting trip.
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Admittedly there is at least one major bummer about being an atheist. It’s a pretty big one, too. Quite simply: I’m deprived of a bunch of gods. Dammit. I guess that comes with the territory. So, in self defense, I learned to pray only to the Great Airlock.
“Oh, Great Airlock, please hear my humble plea.”
“I’m sorry, Tom. I’m afraid I can’t do that.”
It’s easy to see how the Great Airlock could come in handy. Alas, it never quite works out that way. The Airlock is a cruel god. But you still gotta believe, right?
I’ve pontificated about The Great Airlock in the past. In theory, He represents immutable consequences to choice and action. The origin mythology is exceedingly simple: When the button is pushed the door opens. The door cares not what is on the Other Side. The door cares not if the occupant is ready. The door opens. The results are what they are. Nothing can change that. Nothing. Not even a god.
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On Saturdays this space normally features a WordPress reblog but I wasn’t able to find a post regarding a story from earlier this year that deeply affected me. I’m posting an update regarding this story instead.
Earlier this year there was a very disturbing story involving a 17-year-old youth playing in a recreational soccer league that was intended to give suburban kids a chance.
While playing the goalie position, the unnamed youth reportedly pushed a player attempting a corner kick. After justifiably drawing a yellow card the youth protested the call and shouted at the volunteer referee who had made the call.
As the yellow card was being written, the youth suckerpunched the referee, Ricardo Portillo, 46, in the side of the head. By the time police arrived Portillo was curled on the ground in a fetal position and complaining of nausea and back pain. The referee was rushed to a hospital and slipped into a coma later that evening. Within two days Portillo was dead from brain swelling and injuries resulting from the punch.
On Aug. 5, 2013, the youth plead guilty as part of deal reached with prosecutors. The deal prevented the youth from being tried as an adult, only about three months before his 18th birthday. Under the deal the youth will serve a maximum of just over three years in a juvenile prison, although a juvenile parole board could decide to release the youth earlier.
The juvenile court judge also ordered the youth to maintain a picture of the victim in his cell and write a letter to the man’s daughters every week to remind him of the pain he caused the man’s family.
Again, that’s three years in a juvenile prison for a guilty plea on a charge of “homicide by assault.” Sad.