Monday, September 18, 2006

The Poignant and the Sublime

In what I suppose is a Monday mini-Spanning the State, here are two pieces from the rarely-cited KGW--at least, I cite them rarely. (Uh oh, I feel a sidebar coming). We give a lot of grief to The O's online presence, but it's slowly getting the least bit better, and the timeliness of content is definitely improving. The layout still blows like Satchmo, but it seems like upper management is beginning to understand its inevitable print diminishment in favor of electronic delivery, and is compensating.

I suppose television is under no such threat, although local TV news may be functionally dead as a resource already. But just as The O has vastly improved their nimbleness for providing 24/7 content, TV stations likely need to begin taking advantage of more universal video-bandwidth capacity by offering breaking news and even live streaming video for quickly developing stories. Until that becomes the norm (and the sidebar ends...), looking to local TV.coms for linkable content isn't going to yield much. But today, double jackpot!

The first story has about as much poignant irony as one should have to take. A tragically blinded man who invented an ingenious way to help blind people cross the street...was killed crossing the street:
Kevin Stockton, 47, of Glide was trying to cross the road when he was hit by a van traveling east and then by a pickup traveling west, the Oregon State Police said. Stockton died at the scene Friday night, and neither driver was injured, police said.

Stockton developed Blind Signs, curbside markers that help blind people cross the street. Earlier this year, Roseburg completed a two-year project to install 82 of the markers at intersections throughout the city.

"He developed Blind Signs to keep stuff like this from happening, and this is a hell of a way for the point to get across," his wife, Emmy, told the (Roseburg) News-Review.

Stockton was shot in the head by a high-powered rifle seven years ago, leaving him completely blind, hard of hearing and prone to seizures.
The wife seems almost strangely philosophical, from the article--like this wasn't coming as all that much of a shock. I couldn't resist; I tracked down the Roseburg News-Review's version of the story. The poor guy simply had no luck. He wasn't even supposed to be in town, he was supposed to be in Tuscon...but his car had caught fire and he missed the flight. His last words to his wife were apparently "I don't want to be like an animal chained up in the yard," and while I don't at all mean to blame him, what happened is pretty much what happens to animals that get off their chains. And to top it all off, he and his wife were childless, but he did have a son from a previous relationship...who died at 4. Sheesh. Always beware the randomness of ill fate.

In a contrast more reflective of the area where the political and the snarky reside, such as the world we inhabit, comes a lighter story of persistence and a silent cry for better pay in elective office (or better mental health coverage, at least). A man was busted at a Home Depot near Washougal, WA for trying to rip off a digital camera. First of all, who even buys a digital camera from Home Depot, much less steals one? They barely can tell you what 'penny' refers to on nails at Home Depot--are they supposed to explain the concept of pixels?

But to return to our hapless shoplifter, it turns out our perp has an elective day job: City Councilman. And also our Orygun connection:
Gary H. Alexander, 52, a city councilman for the city of Washougal, was charged with with Burglary II, trespassing and theft after loss prevention agents at Home Depot observed him reportedly take a digital camera from the store without paying for it.

The agent recognized Alexander from a previous shoplifting contact at a Home Depot Store in Oregon where Alexander was served a Trespass Notice baring him from entering any Home Depot Store. When the agent approached Alexander, he reportedly fled in his vehicle. Alexander was taken into custody by Clark County Sheriff's Deputies at his Washougal residence. [emph mine]
So did Alexander come over to our Home Depot to avoid any fallout from being busted near home? Or did he just want to avoid the sales tax on whatever he was going to steal (a fax machine, perhaps? A DVD player?) And once nailed and somehow having survived it, he just had to steal something else. From a Home Depot, again. Closer to home, this time. Bravo, Signore, Bravo.