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Old 12-22-2012, 12:38 AM   #1
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Who's on first?

It's just a local Anchorage, Alaska news item today, but it presents yet another example of why people have so little confidence in the performance of officials:

Anchorage police say a man announced as missing Thursday had been dead for more than a week, with police saying his body was already at the state medical examiner's office as officers began to search for him. More details on George Nathan Krause's death came to light Friday, following a confusing sequence of events that saw local media briefly announce online that he had been found alive Thursday evening. APD spokesperson Anita Shell says Krause, 55, died after falling ill Dec. 12 in Midtown. A caller reported that he was on his knees and clutching his chest on Juneau Street, less than half a block from his apartment. Medics responded to the scene and took Krause to Providence Alaska Medical Center, but he was pronounced dead at the hospital. While Shell says Krause's body was taken to the medical examiner's office with his identification still in his pocket, personnel at the medical examiner's office say the body was never in their custody. More than a week later on Dec. 18, Krause's mother -- who often went out on weekends with him -- visited his apartment and had the landlord open the residence, but she couldn't find him and reported him as missing to APD. Police subsequently released information on Krause as a missing-persons case to local media Thursday. Officers looking for Krause called Providence and asked if he was there, but hospital staff had no active records for him. According to Shell, personnel from the medical examiner's office didn't identify Krause until they saw a picture of him Thursday night on TV news reports that he was missing. Shell called local media Thursday night and said Krause had been "located," but didn't state his condition -- a detail she said had been omitted from her initial update because his next of kin hadn't yet been notified. In a subsequent email that evening, she asked reporters to "cancel any news coverage" of Krause.

I love that last line about "cancel any news coverage". You can bet these Keystone Kops would love to have this story retroactively canceled.

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Old 12-22-2012, 12:42 AM   #2
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While this may be a Keystone cop routine ... Why pin it on 'officials'. They were public employees doing the fine jobs we have come to expect from public employees.
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Old 12-22-2012, 01:09 AM   #3
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Old 12-22-2012, 01:15 AM   #4
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We need to put these folks in charge of medical care for people who are still alive. At least they could complain then.
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Old 12-22-2012, 01:27 AM   #5
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Why yes, those individuals messing up is hilarious.

And this generalization from the individuals to all people who share a characteristic with those individuals is not prejudice, how exactly?
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Old 12-22-2012, 01:44 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by RichardGarfinkle View Post
Why yes, those individuals messing up is hilarious.

And this generalization from the individuals to all people who share a characteristic with those individuals is not prejudice, how exactly?
Picking on public officials is a time honored tradition. I don't think anyone who does it believes all public officials are thieves or incompetent. But from time to time....

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Old 12-22-2012, 02:25 AM   #7
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I think it's the series of screw-ups that catches the eye. It's not that the medics didn't note the man's name, or that they dropped him off at the hospital or that the hospital didn't search their records thoroughly enough, or that the medical examiner doesn't seem to do much in the way of record-keeping, but that they all happened at once, to the same guy.
Especially in Anchorage, which, while not a small town, doesn't strike me as a place where all medical people wouldn't more-or-less know each other: "Remember that dead guy? Wouldn't it be weird if he was this missing person they're looking for?"
Question: Could 'man on his knees in Juneau Street' possibly be taken as code for 'falling-down drunk'? Because if he wasn't actually clutching his chest when the medics got there, well, there are parts of downtown Vancouver where your first thought would be 'drunk', and while the sufferer would be hauled off to be checked out, it wouldn't be a 'medical emergency'.
Once they got him to hospital, if he died of a heart-attack, I imagine the doctors wouldn't be too surprised, he's the right age, etc, no need to 'examine', ship him off to the medical examiner anyhow, where they just sort of fill in the forms and off he goes.
So, he just sort of slipped under the radar, several times.
As for the APD spokeswoman, well, it's the season to think well of others, she probably wasn't trying for a cover-up, she just wanted to make sure the search was called off. (All this story needs is 'Citizen X, while searching for the now-found missing man, drowned in a river'.)
My heart goes out to this man's mother, though, what a horrible roller-coaster, now he's missing, now he's found, now he's dead. It sounds like she and her son were close. And the week before the holidays, too.
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Old 12-22-2012, 03:31 AM   #8
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Picking on public officials is a time honored tradition. I don't think anyone who does it believes all public officials are thieves or incompetent.
Have you met Don?
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Old 12-22-2012, 04:28 AM   #9
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Have you met Don?
Never said it. I've certainly said that positions of authority attract people who desire that power. I've said that any system that concentrates power is bound to attract those who seek power for personal gain and will misuse that power for their own benefit. I've never claimed those are the only people who gain that power, or that that dynamic applies to every person seeking a role of authority. I do, however, believe its the more typical than not. I know few artists, scholars, entrepreneurs or craftspeople who have succumbed to the siren song that seems to attract lawyers and "executives" by the droves.

I've also made no secret of my belief that bureaucracies of all sorts attract the incompetent, as well as those who prefer being judged based on personal politics rather than competency. Again, I've never said those beliefs apply to all people who work for bureaucracies or government agencies. I've known a number of competent public officials. I met two today at the Post Office, AAMOF.

So no, I've never said that all public officials are thieves or incompetent. OTOH, I have said that taxation differs from theft only by its official status, so I guess from that it's possible to derive the theorem that all public officials are paid in stolen goods. That's still not the same as calling them thieves, though. More like accessories after the fact.

Does that clear things up for you?
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Old 12-22-2012, 04:51 AM   #10
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Does that clear things up for you?
Yeah. You're willing to admit there might be exceptions, that not every public official is a power hungry autocrat with a twisted psyche.

Just like not every cop is a thug at heart and an abuser of power.

Those things are just the norm.

Big of you.
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Old 12-22-2012, 05:55 AM   #11
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Mod note:

Deck the halls with boughs of holly, folks. it's been a rough month. Let's try to be civil to each other.
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Old 12-22-2012, 06:26 AM   #12
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I posted this story out of sheer exasperation. We are entitled to expect more competence than was shown here, by people at several agencies. And, locally, the paradox is that in a major news case here also involving a disappearance, the authorities appear to have acted in an exemplary manner, until the very end.

That case, discussed in another thread, involved the arrest of serial murderer Israel Keyes, who abducted, raped and killed a barista last February. He was tracked down by some very fine criminal investigstion, arrested in Texas, interrogated at length, and revealed a long and scary history of travel around North America for the purpose of killing people.

Then, somehow, he was allowed to cut his wrists and hang himself in his jail cell a couple of weeks ago. Thereby likely taking with him many other secrets. How this high-profile jail inmate was left unmonitored to do this is beyond my comprehension.

Now this. A much less important case, to be sure, but an example of sheer unadulterated blundering across the board. Worse yet is going to be a suspicion of racial prejudice, which I didn't mention in my original post. The man who died, Krause, was an Alaska native, and the section of town in which he collapsed on the sidewalk is a poor, high-crime area, and also one in which alcoholism and homelessness are rife. So, not much attention got paid to a man who seemed for some people to be just another statistic.

I'll give the city another statistic, as soon as the lawsuits emerge.

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Old 12-22-2012, 06:29 AM   #13
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The man who died, Krause, was an Alaska native, and
Is it weird that I actually just assumed this when I was reading your post?
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Old 12-22-2012, 12:19 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Haggis View Post
Picking on public officials is a time honored tradition. I don't think anyone who does it believes all public officials are thieves or incompetent. But from time to time....


~Mark Twain
The right of the people to be sar sarcastic to and about public officials is a sign of a free society.

But, asserting that actions like this are typical of, or a necessary characteristic of the way public officials acts perpetuates a cultural stereotype that is exploited by some people who wish to claim that work done by governments must be inferior to private sector work.

The stereotype has become a serious matter of policy, so it needs to be pointed out from time to time, that it is a stereotype and it does insult and undermine actual human beings trying to do actual jobs for the sake of other actual human beings.
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Old 12-22-2012, 08:10 PM   #15
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MODEST SUGGESTION FOR MAXIMIZING THE IRONIC HUMOR:

Go back to the OP, read the entire quoted paragraph in bb's quote box a second time, only this time around, do so while listening to this 4-minute piece of music from YouTube.


(Safe for work, 4 minutes long)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MK6TXMsvgQg

And remember to smile.
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Old 12-23-2012, 12:08 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RichardGarfinkle View Post
The right of the people to be sar sarcastic to and about public officials is a sign of a free society.

But, asserting that actions like this are typical of, or a necessary characteristic of the way public officials acts perpetuates a cultural stereotype that is exploited by some people who wish to claim that work done by governments must be inferior to private sector work.

The stereotype has become a serious matter of policy, so it needs to be pointed out from time to time, that it is a stereotype and it does insult and undermine actual human beings trying to do actual jobs for the sake of other actual human beings.
There are so many stereotypes out there that I trip over several every day. I'm talking about stereotypes like Big Oil, Big Pharma, Greedy Capitalists, Republican War on Women, Tax and Spend Democrats, Liberal Elite, Tree Huggers, Baby Killers (one of my favorites), Welfare Mothers, Heartless Bankers, Religious Nuts, Gun Lovers, Teabaggers, the One Percent and on and on. Not to mention the racial and sexual orientation stereotypes. All of those stereotypes tend to be more hateful IMO than the jabs at government bureaucrats or officials which are typically said with tongue firmly implanted in cheek. But, you're right. They are stereotypes. The problem is we're surrounded by stereotypes. One can only hope most people are smart enough to see past them.
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Old 12-23-2012, 02:01 AM   #17
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Quote:
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Worse yet is going to be a suspicion of racial prejudice, which I didn't mention in my original post. The man who died, Krause, was an Alaska native, and the section of town in which he collapsed on the sidewalk is a poor, high-crime area, and also one in which alcoholism and homelessness are rife. So, not much attention got paid to a man who seemed for some people to be just another statistic.
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Is it weird that I actually just assumed this when I was reading your post?
I would have assumed that, too, except that his last name was Krause, so I figured he was likely to be a white guy, and that it was just my cynical nature that made me think "They just figured he was a drunken Indian". Stereotyping either way, I guess. God knows that's what I would have thought happened if the story was from Vancouver's East Side. I believe Vancouver improved the officers' responses after they dumped one semi-concious drunk back out on the street, and he died of exposure. And the guy they thought was drunk, who actually turned out to have uncontrolled diabetes. Now they do get a medical opinion first.
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