Diary of a Mad County

Aug. 30 - Sept. 5

Sunday, Sept. 3
This wasn't the first time I'd been exposed to Dana Rohrabacher's generous nature where putting other people's children in harm's way is concerned. Back in 2003, I talked with Barbara Sandefur, who also lives in Huntington Beach and whose son, Kenny, was serving in Iraq. As the initial positive reports from Iraq turned into a steady stream of American deaths, she panicked. She wrote to Rohrabacher: "My son and the Marines have been in Iraq for over nine months now. They have done the job YOU sent them over there to do. We have continued to be lied to. We were told they would be home once they reached Baghdad. Now, five months later, they are still there being used as peacekeepers, used to guard and protect the same people YOU sent them over there to kill. When is enough enough? You have forgotten the Marines and left them there, and they need to be brought home. As an American, I am demanding answers. As a mother, I am begging for answers." Rohrabacher never responded. I guess she should consider herself lucky.

Monday, Sept. 4
Talking with the Weekly's Dave Wielenga today, and I'm reminded that, several years ago, he took part in an OC sheriff's department stunt designed to show civilians just how quickly an officer has to make life-and-death decisions. Dave was outfitted as a cop, given a partner and put into a situation with a live sheriff acting the part of Homeless Man, a situation eerily similar to Ashley MacDonald's. "He was mentally ill, or seemed to be, speaking incoherently," Dave says. "He seemed nervous, behaved unpredictably. The instant I saw him, I pulled my gun. I ordered him away from the shopping cart. He began to comply. But as I approached, he returned to the cart, ignoring my commands to stay away. There we stood for a few seconds, a few feet apart, me shouting orders while he continued to fumble through a blanket. I saw him grab a stick. I realized it was a knife. He made a quick movement. I dropped him with a single shot to the chest. Nobody accused me of acting improperly. In fact, when I lamented my hasty actions to Orange County Sheriff Michael S. Carona, he excused me. 'What you did is a natural reaction,' Carona told me consolingly. 'That's the reason we put our deputies through all our training—to counter and avoid the natural reactions that people in law enforcement must deal with every day.'"

Tuesday, Sept. 5
I need a break. When's Labor Day?

SLOWERY@OCWEEKLY.COM

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