NRH Cracks Down with Red Light Cameras

It is truly a sad day in the life of North Richland Hills citizens. Those of us who frequent Davis Boulevard will now be subject to the whim of automated red light cameras. 

"The cameras keep the streets safer." Really? Who really believes that? Let's call a spade a spade. The city needs money. They're building a brand new library, to be immediately followed by a new recreation center, both centrally located in the Home Town area. NRH is growing and improving, and red light cameras help pay the bills.

But what happens when you dispute a red light camera photo before a judge? Who testifies on behalf of the camera? Who answers questions about the veracity of the photographs claims?

My concern here is with unmonitored technology. Sure, someone may someday maintenance these cameras to ensure proper functionality. But what constitutes running a red light to this automated camera? Is it crossing the white line after the light has turned red? Or does it expand the definition to include any movement within the intersection once the light has turned red?

Here's my point: to my knowledge, I am breaking no laws if I pass through an intersection as long as the light was yellow when i broke the plane of the intersection. Once I have penetrated the intersection, the light can turn red and I have no fault.

But I've watched that annoying flash bulb light up three or four times within a second to help the camera capture license plates of offending vehicles and some of those vehicles appeared to already be within the intersection before the light turned red.

Let's be fair. I don't care that we should drive defensively. Law is law. If I am not breaking the law in the eyes of a human police officer, then I better not be flagged as a violator by some automated system. The law is the same regardless of who we put in place to enforce it.

If you can shed light on the situation, let's hear from you. Add a comment to this post and weigh in. I have my doubts that anyone can defend the cameras' flawlessness, unless some photos are evaluated elsewhere and not ticketed.  

The Physical Informs the Spiritual

It’s been 13 years since I experienced three significant physical ailments. I was a teenager, having moved out of my parents’ house and into my first apartment. I lived in rebellion against authority. The first three months away from my home, I contracted mono, chipped a bone in my ankle, and experienced intense pain in both knees when jumping.

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Movie Review: The Invisible

You'll have to bear with me. I don't go to theaters often. This film, The Invisible, is out on DVD already, so many of you have already seen it. The film stars Justin Chatwin and Margarita Levieva. I was drawn in and intrigued by the movie trailer some time ago. My pregnant wife surprisingly picked a non-romantic comedy for our Friday night flick. So we sat down on the couch and watched The Invisible.

You have to make it past the first half hour of this film. It starts off interestingly enough, but then seems to become very predictable for a good ten to fifteen minutes. My excitement and interest dimmed noticeably at that point. 

If for no other reason, see this film and focus on Annie (Levieva). Annie is a teenage criminal. She's so tough she picks on boys like it's nothing. She steals, bullies, threatens, and eventually kills. What I love about her character is that we see someone who commits the most heinous offense known to man – murder. She nearly kills Nick (Chatwin) with her unchecked aggression. 

Nick is undead. He is nearly dead. And he follows Annie around, trying to get someone to solve his near murder and save him before he dies for real. He is invisible to the world around him. And yet, Annie hears his voice inside her mind.

But the real gem of the story come from following Annie and seeing her as a person. It is our typical response to vilify murderers as inhuman beasts or monsters. We want to classify them this way, because we need to believe that murderers are different than us. We need to know that we could not murder. So we hate and mock and call down damnation upon the guilty in order to spread wide the gulf between us and the heinous beasts that can choose to commit so horrible an act. 

Nick can't see Annie as anything but a murderer until he sees her love her little brother. We are forced to consider what if other people are like this. What if everyone guilty of a crime still has loyal, noble love for someone somewhere? What do we do then?

By the end of this film, Annie is the heroine. We want her to succeed. We realize that she is more a victim of a broken home and wrong choices than of being an other-than-human beast. She is very human, and even beautiful, when she takes the hooded sweatshirt off and uncovers her hair.

Nick looks upon his would-be killer and sees a beautiful young woman. He is spellbound. She is more than thug. She is more than an animal. She is more than just "broken". She is a person, desperate for something good.

It is a beautiful sub-plot within the story. It IS the story, as far as I'm concerned. I won't tell you the ending, in case you still want to see the film. But the deepest feeling comes from knowing that she's in a spot she doesn't know how to get out of, but her heart can be softened and she probably would have lived a better life given the chance.

See this film. See it, and realize that there is beauty in every human heart. Even if you can't see it.  

Dallas Cowboys Superhype is Over

As much as I wanted to be able to say something else, it is true: the superhype is over. I had a dream. In that dream, Dallas defeated New England and steamrolled the rest of the competition to lose only two games this season. The Cowboys are still a good team. They're probably still the best in the NFC. But there's something about losing the respect of the nation and falling back into that category as a "second rate NFC team" that completely stole my thunder. 

The fairy tale died. Dallas was on the receiving end of the steamroll last week, and this week they barely squeezed out a victory against Adrian Peterson's Vikings (yes, they are HIS team now). Such a mediocre performance this week yanks me back to reality. Wake up, Daniel! The Cowboys are still the Cowboys! Which means that they are fun to watch but not superhuman (unlike stupid baby making Tom Brady and his Pats).  

So the season continues, but with much less glitz and suspense than before. My Cowboys are human after all, and have not reached Aikman-age superiority. Romo's minor hamstring injury after slide tackling a couple Vikings (nice move, but really stupid) knocked the breath out of me. If he were to sit, it's all over. Pack it up and wait until next season. So let's hope he heals up nice and quick!

Is anyone else desperately anticipating the intro of Tank Johnson and the glorious return of injured cornerback Anthony Henry? I won't even mention Terry Glenn except in passing because missing him is just too painful.

Well, Romo, you better stay healthy! A franchise is counting on you. No more stupid stunts like that. One touchdown versus injury should not be a difficult decision to make. So cut that stupid sh*t out!

I'll keep watching, but I have no illusions about a fantasy-like season. Dallas would have to go undefeated until the last two games to rebuild the frenzied excitement they built up before the Patriots game. Here's hoping they pull off some magic. But I won't keep my fingers crossed.  

An Opportunity, Not a Duty

It’s like God flipped a switch in me this past week. I can’t tell you exactly when it happened, but I remember realizing it had happened. One day, I just realized that my countenance feels brighter, my head feels less topsy turvy, and my outlook is positive and excited. I’ve been talking like it’s going out of style.

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The Physical Informs the Spiritual

It’s been 13 years since I experienced three significant physical ailments. I was a teenager, having moved out of my parents’ house and into my first apartment. I lived in rebellion against authority. The first three months away from my home, I contracted mono, chipped a bone in my ankle, and experienced intense pain in both knees when jumping.

Continue reading