Okay, so this week there have been two huge Supreme Court decisions (Briefly: Can you execute people for crimes not involving a murder? No. Do American citizens have a Constitutional right to own handguns? Yes.), Barack Obama and James Dobson have been arguing over whether or not the Old Testament applies to Christians, Ray Comfort has informed his readers that God is throwing lightning at California for legalizing gay marriage, and North Korea is planning to implode parts of its own Yongbyon nuclear complex to comply with international pressures regarding its nuclear program. It 's been an amazing news week! So where the hell have I been this whole time?
Your pal Skippy has spent the entire week engaged in two different pursuits, one tedious, the other maddening. Firstly, I decided over the weekend that I was going to make a Microsoft Works database of all my DVDs. I should have known that this was a fool's errand because the only thing I own that's bigger than my book collection is my movie collection, but I'm very, very bad at estimating numbers. Anything indistinct grouping of objects that seems to be more than 10 or so gets counted in my mind as "around 20". My girlfriend and I own 9 narrow floor shelves full of DVDs, so I was banking on around 180 entries in my database. Little did I suspect that each of those shelves actually holds about 75 DVDs, and I also didn't take into account how many of those DVDs have more than one movie on them. (Hint: Lots.) I can prune out a lot of my girlfriend's movies that I don't really care about (Not planning on watching the Dungeons and Dragons movie any time soon...) and some of those shelves have a number of old VHS tapes on them that I needn't count, but I still probably have around 250 films left to key in even after having worked on this since Saturday evening. I guess there's a sense in which it's obscene to complain about having too much awesome stuff, but I think I may have written a check that my data entry skills can't cash.*
Secondly, and much more seriously, I've been dealing with a potential abuse case at work. HIPAA regulations prevent me from discussing anything specific on here, but suffice to say that trying to activate the Adult Protective System in Indiana is a task of unparalleled frustration. I'd compare it to trying to use a teddy bear to hammer a piece of cooked spaghetti through a rock. Indiana has a branch of bureaucracy called the Bureau of Quality Improvement Services, which sounds like a PR organization but which actually is in charge of investigation abuse reports filed by state-affiliated social services agencies. The problem is that BQIS is understaffed and is geared more towards dealing with things like deaths and sexual abuse cases than issues of unexplained bruising. A report filed to them for anything less than a bloody, on-camera decapitation will just get lost in a the flotsam and jetsam of paperwork.
Indiana Adult Protective Services on the other hand is willing to work on lower key sorts of cases, so a report is being filed with them as well. The problem with APS, however, is that they are unwilling to remove any individual from a home against their will unless there's an imminent danger of death. The occasional smacking around doesn't cut it as grounds for forcibly removing an individual who is their own guardian from a threatening home situation, and in Indiana you could be a severed twitching foot hooked up to a car battery and still be considered your own guardian. The matter is further complicated by the suspected victim, who is very frightened of being placed in a group living facility (the suspected abuser involved has filled this individual's head with tales of how everyone in group homes is abused or tortured) and is thus unwilling to let my colleagues and I secure proper documentation of the injuries. Though I've had similar experiences before, each time something like this comes up and it seems as if the legal machinery fails to do its job I find myself very put off and disillusioned.
Although I never thought it could happen, this week I just haven't been able to get in the mood to be snarky. Hopefully I'll be back on my game in a few days.
*I've also been brought face to face with the fact that approximately 15% of my movies fit under the "cannibal zombie" sub-genre.