Patterico's Pontifications

12/24/2007

Santa’s On His Way (Updated)

Filed under: General — DRJ @ 8:00 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Just in case you have someone at your house who still believes in Santa Claus (and this poll suggests 75+% of us still believe in the idea of Santa Claus), NORAD has its Santa Tracker here and on YouTube. You can also speak to a Santa Tracker in person by calling 1 (877) Hi NORAD or 1 (877) 446-6723.

UPDATE: Some special music and decorations to light Santa’s way:

Merry Christmas to all and to all a Good Night!

— DRJ

A Cop’s Christmas

Filed under: General — Jack Dunphy @ 5:06 pm

[Guest post by Jack Dunphy]

For reasons unknown, at least to me, the piece that appears below is unavailable in the archive of my columns on National Review Online. I wrote it in 2001, when I had just begun writing for NRO, and I recalled it today as I prepared to celebrate Christmas. It’s still one of my favorite pieces, so I thought I’d bring it out of the digital drawer and share with the readers here in Pattericoland. Merry Christmas.

A Cop’s Christmas

For reviving the spirit, there is little in life that can rival standing among a thousand people singing “Adeste Fidelis” in church on Christmas morning. And while I don’t presume to know the minds of my fellow worshipers, I feel safe in saying there was no one in church that morning whose spirit was more in need of reviving than my own, for few professions can rival mine for glimpses into the darkness that sometimes dwells in the souls of men. In the days and indeed the very hours leading up to Christmas, I waded through the anguished aftermaths of two murders, two suicides, an attempted suicide, and a variety of other lesser tragedies, the accumulated sadness of which left me reeling and in doubt as to the wisdom in my choice of careers.

To get one’s intellectual arms around the meaning of that song and the event it commemorates is a challenge even under the best of circumstances, but as I dressed for church Christmas morning I couldn’t rid my mind’s eye of those haunting images: the faces of people who, only moments before I came upon them, were calmly going about their lives unaware of the horror about to befall them, or, as with the suicides, were all too aware of it. I was tempted to go back to bed. Christmas, it seemed to me in that moment, was for the birds.

There have been many such moments in my years as a policeman, but even in the bleakest of them I’ve tried to remember that it has been the blessed combination of faith, family, and friends that has sustained me. So, albeit reluctantly, off to church I went.

I was distracted when I first arrived, looking around at all those people who hadn’t been in church since last Easter and would not be again until the next. Even as the church was filling to capacity and beyond I felt an urge to get up and go home. Then the choir began to sing “Adeste Fidelis,” and then the congregation joined in, and finally even I, falteringly at first, began to sing in praise of that Baby born in Bethlehem 2,000 years ago.

The Gospel that day was from Luke – my favorite description of the Nativity, with all its angels and shepherds and heavenly hosts. By the time the mass ended and we had sung “Silent Night” and “Joy to the World” and a few others, the woes of the previous days had receded into a more proper perspective, one that allowed me to return to work and face the certainty that those awful images will never completely fade from memory, and that new ones just as awful surely will join them before I take off my gun and badge for the last time.

I know too many good and decent people of other faiths – or of no faith at all – to be absolutely certain that we Christians have the final word on God and salvation and the meaning of life. And I know that every civilization throughout history has had its creation myth. But I was raised to believe – and still do believe – that God sent us His only Son to be born as Man in a humble birth, to walk among us, to teach us, and finally to endure injustice, cruelty, and death before rising again, all to show that we, too, with His help, can endure injustice, cruelty, and even death.

If that’s a myth, it’s a pretty good one. I’m sticking with it.

Quote of the Month

Filed under: Abortion,General — Patterico @ 8:38 am

Via Michelle Malkin:

Over the course of the evening, a few friends call. Each time I say something like, “You know, we were going to go out, but Emily’’s just not feeling well.”

This is true. She has been nauseated for almost a month. I tell them, “We’’re just going to stay in and stay warm.”

Emily listens carefully from the other room. The abortion is no one’’s business but ours, we’’ve decided.

Brian Goedde, writing about his girlfriend’s abortion . . . in the New York Times.

Top Orange County [California] Court Stories of 2007

Filed under: Law,Year in Review — Justin Levine @ 7:25 am

[posted by Justin Levine]

Posted here.

L.A. Murder Rate Is Lowest In Nearly Four Decades

Filed under: Crime,Music,Public Policy — Justin Levine @ 4:04 am

[posted by Justin Levine]

Here is some good news for the holidays.

Los Angeles is on track to record its lowest homicide rate since 1970, when 394 people were killed.

This mirrors recent trends in New York. As the NY Times pointed out in November –

But within the citys official crime statistics is a figure that may be even more striking: so far, with roughly half the killings analyzed, only 35 were found to be committed by strangers, a microscopic statistic in a city of more than 8.2 million.

As for L.A., “Police attribute the decline to a variety of factors, including more focused policing — and chance.”

Reporters might not be considering the classical music factor, which some California judges are taking notice of. More Mozart. Less Snoop.

[PDF link alert] Broken Windows theory is becoming more and more prescient as the years go by.

— Justin Levine


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