Friday, February 13, 2015

Mr. Cope's Cave: Gone Girl Next Door

Posted By on Fri, Feb 13, 2015 at 12:02 PM

Are you going to write anything about Kayla Mueller?

I've been trying. I feel like I should, but it's hard.

Hard because you're trying to think of something different to say?

Sort of. My instincts as a writer tell me to not simply repeat what everyone else is feeling, while at the same time knowing there is no other way to feel about it.

Yeah. It's impossible to imagine the pain that family is going through, huh?

No, that's just it. That's what's so hard. Because it's not impossible to imagine that pain. It's all too easy to imagine what that family is going through. All I have to do is put my own daughter's face in those pictures. Or the face of any other bright young daughter, or son, so eager and promising ... so innocent and hopeful and ... and so unfulfilled. Then to know that awful reality you have nothing left but the pictures. Knowing that as time passes, even the memories will fade and lose their vitality because no new experiences are coming to refresh them. No new acts of kindness. No new adventures. No new homecomings and no new goodbyes. No more laughs or joys or heartbreaks. No pictures of her hugging the love of her life. No pictures of the wedding. No baby pictures. Yeah, we say it all the time, that it's impossible to imagine the pain the family is going through. But the truth is, most everyone with a child can feel what that pain would be like from their bones out, and they would trade their own life to avoid it. Maybe it's the most ancient feeling in the human heart. Even the thought of how painful it would be is so painful, we try not to think about it. Not until something like this ... pretty, bright, kind Kayla Mueller, so alike to what we see in our own ... and it comes out. As hard as it is, it comes out. And I just ... it's just beyond any words I have.

It's worse with Kayla because she was murdered, don't you think?

I think it's worse with Kayla because we've all seen what she was. We've seen the last words she had for her family. We've seen the commitment she had to doing good in the world, and it's easy to imagine how much more good she might have done had she not been murdered, had she a full count of years ahead of her. It's worse with Kayla because we know she was what people ought to be, what good people want to be. She was the best we have to offer, and maybe we're a little ashamed because it took her murder for us to remember there are people like her, doing what they can.

It's sort of like, when they murdered her, they also murdered all the people she might have helped over her life.

All the people she might have saved, yes. All the people she might have fed, clothed, comforted. And think of all the people ... all those wounded, war-ravaged people, homeless people, hungry people ... who might have seen what a good person does in the world. What the very best we has to offer does.

It hurts to think about it, that somebody like her is gone.

Yeah. It sure does.
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Friday, July 25, 2014

Mr. Cope’s Cave: Onionheads

Posted By on Fri, Jul 25, 2014 at 10:00 AM

On Real Time last week, Bill Maher took after a growing trend among police forces in smaller, sedate cities to add military surplus armored vehicles to their arsenal of crime-fighting paraphernalia. You know the sort I mean… those heavy, tanky, bunkers on wheels that we would normally expect to see patrolling the alleys of Baghdad during the occupation, rumbling through insurgent territories in Afghanistan, or roaring through a sea of zombies, crushing heads under the oversized tires.

Maher’s argument is that our police forces are being militarized, and in most cases needlessly because in towns like Omaha and Tallahassee and Boise, it’s highly unlikely any sort of urban warfare will break out, or see the sort of incident that would necessitate an overwhelming show of brute force, especially in an age when crime rates are actually declining. What’s more, such vehicles add to feelings of alienation and disconnect between regular citizens and their local law enforcement agencies. Whether one belongs to a minority community, a gathering of paranoid pot smokers or a circle of Tea Party malcontents, none of us like to think of ourselves as a potential enemy of a state that arms itself with the same weaponry the military might use against Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

Furthermore, you know that when you see one of those squinty-windowed monstrosities roll up, it ain’t gonna be Andy Taylor or Barney Fife who hops out. Rather, it’s going to be a squad of robo-cops wearing body armor and bug helmets, and they didn’t come to sell tickets to the Policemen’s Ball.

I’m happy Maher said what I suspect a lot of people have been thinking—like… What on earth does my town need with a war wagon like that? And now that the judgment of people who make the decision to acquire such vehicles has been called into question, which goes against our natural aversion (or timidity) to criticize the men and women on the thin blue line, I’ve decided to speak up on another matter of concern I have about the way so many of our policemen are comporting themselves. I make a point here of using the unisexual “police-men” because I have yet to see a police-woman with one of those ugly, shiny, reptilian, macho, shaved heads.

Yes, that is my bitch today. And I thank Bill Maher for giving me the courage to say something about it. I’ve been thinking it for years and have long wanted to write how phony and affected and, frankly, immature it seems to me that cop after cop has that same I-wanna-look-like-Vin-Diesel-so much-my-balls-ache haircut—if indeed it can rightfully be called a “haircut”—but have been afraid to lest, during my next traffic ticket, some Mr. Magoo with a badge and a gun recognizes my name and decides he has probable cause for a tazing.

And look, I have nothing against law enforcement or the police, per se. I respect and admire anyone who chooses to be society’s guardians, despite the inherent risk to themselves. Obviously, I want my property protected as much as the next guy, and would prefer the streets of Meridian were not left to be marauded by wild biker gangs, drunken cowboys and poorly raised teenagers.

However, I just don’t think they all have to look like Borg to accomplish that. And it gives me an uneasy feeling that, if so many behind the wheels of those Crown Vic cruisers out there are so inclined to be indistinguishable from one another, then possibly they all think alike, too. And if an entire police force that thinks alike doesn’t make you nervous, then perhaps you should spend more time thinking about it.

Now, to be fair, I imagine there is a plausible reason or two why a cop might believe he is more effective or efficient at his work with a hairless head. Just speculating: 1) Will never be troubled with lice—not of the upper body variety, at any rate; 2) Can make insufficient salary stretch further without having to figure the price of a weekly buzz-cut into the budget; 3) Should a tussle with a miscreant occur, there is one less place for the wretch to find a hand-hold; 4) No place to keep a comb on those utility belts.

All fairly decent reasons, agreed. But I suspect none of them are why so many of our lawmen are following the Tao of Kojak. I fear it has more to do with assuming an intimidating personal image than efficiency, and more to do with an attitude of military-style conformity than with how effectively they are serving and protecting a civilian population, neither of which seem to me to be an appropriate way to run an orderly society.
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Monday, May 12, 2014

Mr. Cope’s Cave: The Stupid Things That Gun Nuts Do

Posted By on Mon, May 12, 2014 at 11:11 AM

Just this past Friday, I explained how I like to extend certain subject matter into open-ended series, if for no other reason than so often, the same stuff comes up again and again. Said another way, shit doesn’t just happen; it happens over, and over, and over.

Nowhere is that more true than in the sphere of American gun nuttery, and it’s no mystery why. In fact, I consider it a guiding principle of human nature, as basic to understanding the behavior we see around us as knowing that those who abuse drugs often have addictive personalities, or that fat people have a tendency to eat more than slim people do.

As simple as I can make it, this guiding principle would read: Not only do stupid people do stupid things, they never learn to stop doing them.

As this principle relates to gun nuts, how many times do we have to hear of some guy showing his piece off to friends with the assurance, “Don’t worry... it’s not loaded,” seconds before he puts a slug through his ceiling—if he’s lucky—or his wife’s head (if he’s not)?

How many times do we have to hear of some guy leaving the pride of his Second Amendment rights within reach of the household’s toddler—or the household’s teenager; there is hardly a difference when it comes to guns—and someone ends up getting dead?

How many times do we need to hear of some guy sticking a gun in his pants to make himself invincible as he heads out for a night at the discotheque—or to make himself especially obnoxious as he heads out for a latte at Starbucks—only to blow a hole through his foot because the dunce forgot to click the safety on?

See what I mean? And I haven’t even touched upon the horrific consistency we find in reports of mass killings, domestic murders, gun-related suicides and collateral carnage from random shootings. There is never anything new about any of them. Except, of course, the names of the victims.

And consider the utterly predictable and reflexive response from these obsessive goons whenever any change, no matter how slight, in our deadly relationship with guns is even suggested. Why, just last week, a gun store owner was deluged by death threats when he announced he would start selling “smart” guns in his establishment. If we didn’t know better, we might begin to suspect these assholes would prefer the occasional child getting accidentally shot—even if the “occasional” children getting accidentally shot in America is running about 1800 a year—than take any steps whatsoever to make their firearms perversion even the least bit safer.

Ha, just kidding! We already knew that, didn’t we?


Today, in my first installment of “The Stupid Things Gun Nuts Do,” I report on what stupid thing some gun nut did right here in Boise. But first, let me explain how I know he’s a gun nut. I don’t automatically assume someone’s a gun nut because he owns a military-style, semi-automatic rifle. No, even though the price one must pay to own such a beast—which is essentially a few hunks of machined metal thrown together with as much craftsmanship and aesthetics as we might find in a Chinese-made barbecue set down at Walmart—might hint that the owner is overly-impressed by the looks of the thing (which might hint in turn that he has watched a few too many action movies), I won’t jump to the conclusion he is, technically, a true “gun nut.” Indeed, he might have a perfectly reasonable reason for owning such an ugly thing—even though. at the moment, I’m having some difficulty imagining what such a reason might be.

But my reservations about calling a man with one military-style, semi-automatic rifle a gun nut grow dimmer and dimmer with every such weapon that man owns. And were I to learn he owned five of the sonofabitches, then I feel perfectly justified in calling him a gun nut. A gun nut five times over, in fact. A Fifth-Degree gun nut!

But that’s not the stupidest part. The stupidest part is that this Boise man... this Fifth-Degree gun nut... left all five of his military-style, semi-automatic rifles in his garage, snuggled deeply in one of Boise’s better-known suburban sprawls, and then left the f***ing garage door open!

Is that stupid?... Or what?

But again, it’s an old story, isn’t it? How many times do we have to hear of some guy with a whole herd of guns in his house—enough guns to deal with anything and everything that guy fears is coming—and the one thing he didn’t see coming was gun thieves?

Fortunately, the rifles were recovered and returned to the gun nut—and I say fortunately only because, while it’s bad enough that some dildo living in a populous suburb is armed with five assault weapons, it’s marginally worse when those same weapons fall into the hands of another such dildo, this one with a penchant for larceny.

We will probably never know whether this guy will do the proper things in the future to secure his precious firesticks. A gun safe, for instance, or at the least, shut his F***ING garage door. But my bet is, he has rushed out and purchased a sixth military-style, semi-automatic rifle so that he can stand guard over the other five.   
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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Rewards Offered in Connection With Robbery of Local Comic, Videographer

Posted By on Tue, Apr 22, 2014 at 3:18 PM

Local comic and videographer Ron Torres posted this photograph to Facebook with the caption, "This is the man you stole from," after a break-in at his apartment April 21. - RON TORRES/FACEBOOK
  • Ron Torres/Facebook
  • Local comic and videographer Ron Torres posted this photograph to Facebook with the caption, "This is the man you stole from," after a break-in at his apartment April 21.

Ron Torres–videographer for, local comic and one of the original members of Insert Foot Theatre improv group–went to bed the night of April 19 feeling satisfied. He'd stayed up past 1 a.m. editing a new draft of a project called Carver, a film project featuring local artist Chris Hunt that's only a month away from being finished and ready for submission to the Sundance Film Festival. He told Boise Weekly he felt proud of his work that night as he headed upstairs to his bedroom.

But Monday morning, he went downstairs and it was gone. Someone had snuck in through the unlocked back door of his apartment while he was asleep and stolen his 15.4-inch Macbook Pro, his wireless mouse, his silver Seagate external hard drive with the word "Carver" written across in Sharpie, another black external hard drive full of raw footage and files for an upcoming music video project, a Zoom 4HN audio recorder, his Playstation 3, a 32-gig flash card and an 8-gig iPod touch.

But his phone, his tablet and his camera equipment nearby were untouched. 

Two of Torres' neighbors were also robbed that night, both reporting stolen laptops. Authorities told Torres his best bet of finding his possessions is to peruse pawnshops, Craigslist and eBay. But he said in a Facebook post that the loss is "gut wrenching." 

"If you stole this for money ... I have money to give you if its returned ... let me have my stories. I beg you," the Facebook post read. He listed each item stolen, and within 24 hours the status had already been shared 75 times.

One Facebook share came from Ryan DeLuca, the CEO and founder of He's personally offering a $5,000 reward for the return of Torres' electronics.

"The hardware can be replaced," DeLuca wrote. "What can't be replaced is the blood, sweat, tears, time and emotion that went into the videos and data that was on the equipment. He's been working on many special projects that are close to his heart and it's all gone. It's absolutely heartbreaking to me."

Ted Challenger, owner of China Blue, Dirty Little Roddy's and the Main Street Bistro, also commented on Facebook that, "I'll add a $1000 bar tab to the capture of this douche." 

Torres says the outpouring of community support has been "amazing." He told BW that many of his friends, filmmakers and community members have been scouring Craigslist and eBay, sending him leads.

"They've taken away the stories," Torres said of the theft, "but not the storyteller. It's a horrible circumstance, but it's definitely not the end of the story."
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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Need Something To Do Tuesday?

Posted By on Tue, Jul 9, 2013 at 6:00 AM

Today from noon-1 p.m., Old Idaho Penitentiary site manager Amber Beierle will deliver a Brown Bag Lecture—in conjunction with Boise 150 and the Idaho State Historical Museum—on the prison's territorial years between 1872 and 1889. She'll talk about its construction, its buildings and the people who lived and worked there, from fearsome guards to their rough-and-wild charges.

This Brown Bag Lecture is free for members of the Idaho State Historical Society and $3 for kids, $4 for seniors and $5 for adults.

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Monday, November 19, 2012

The Best Thing on the Internet: Cop vs. Clown Street Brawl

Posted By on Mon, Nov 19, 2012 at 3:15 PM

We know what you're thinking. Why don't cops and clowns get into fistfights more often? They are probably ancient enemies, after all.

We can't say for sure that this video of a policeman and a clown brawling in front of City Hall in Milwaukee is the first battle in the coming war, but it sure is the most comical piece of evidence to be considered when discussing the proper use of force.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Vice Investigates Mexican Drugs Lords' War with Mormons

Posted By on Tue, Sep 18, 2012 at 11:13 AM

There are two things a lot of people know. One is that there is an epic drug war going on around the Mexican-American border. The second is that presidential candidate Mitt Romney has family roots in Mormon compounds built in the same region.

What most people haven't put together yet is that these Mormon outposts are major thorns in the sides of drug smugglers, and as such, have been unwittingly drug into the drug war.

Vice Magazine sent a film crew to Ciudad Juarez to investigate the conflict for a seven-part video series.


According to Vice co-founder Shane Smith, "Williamsburg [Brooklyn, where Vice is based] is ground zero for hipsters. That means it's also ground zero for partying. Which means it's ground zero for cocaine. And Vice has talked a lot about cocaine over the years."

The first and second parts of the series can be seen below.

[ Video is no longer available. ]

[ Video is no longer available. ]

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Monday, August 6, 2012

Wisconsin Shooter Was a Colorado White-Power Musician

Posted By on Mon, Aug 6, 2012 at 3:43 PM

The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks and combats hate groups, issued a report this morning on Wade Michael Page, the man who murdered six people in a Sikh temple south of Milwaukee Sunday before he was killed by police.

The report listed him as a white-power musician and had links to interviews he had given about his musical projects.

From the report:

In 2010, Page, then the leader of the band End Apathy, gave an interview to the white supremacist website Label 56. He said that when he started the band in 2005, its name reflected his wish to “figure out how to end people’s apathetic ways” and start “moving forward.” “I was willing to point out some of my faults on how I was holding myself back,” Page said. Later, he added, “The inspiration was based on frustration that we have the potential to accomplish so much more as individuals and a society in whole.” He did not discuss violence in the interview.

Page told the website that he had been a part of the white power music scene since 2000, when he left his native Colorado on a motorcycle. He attended white power concerts in Georgia, North Carolina, West Virginia and Colorado. At various times, he said, he also played in the hate-rock bands Youngland (2001-2003), Celtic Warrior, Radikahl, Max Resist, Intimidation One, Aggressive Force and Blue Eyed Devils.

The links are now dead, presumably because the publications don't want to be associated with a mass killer, but here is a link to a Google archive of an interview Page did with Label 56.

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Monday, January 16, 2012

Video: Behind the Fences at the Women's Correctional Center

Posted By on Mon, Jan 16, 2012 at 2:19 PM

What's the difference between a prison and a therapeutic community? It's a question we're exploring in the Wednesday, Jan. 18, edition of Boise Weekly, when contributing writer Carissa Wolf looks behind the barbed-wire fences of the Idaho Women's Correctional Center at its therapeutic community, which aims to reform prisoners.

While the program has shown some positive results, it's not without its critics, who claim the break-them-down-to-build-them-up tactics are akin to cruel and unusual punishment.

Check out the video preview of life inside the community.

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Saturday, January 7, 2012

Need Something To Do Saturday?

Posted By on Sat, Jan 7, 2012 at 6:00 AM

There's something intriguing about a good whodunit. Why else would those Sherlock Holmes movies have such huge opening weekends? People love to play detective, probably because there's a certain level of self-satisfaction that comes with correctly identifying a murderer before he/she is actually unveiled. For a few minutes, you can feel like a real crime-solver, minus any sort of real danger.

Embrace your inner Sherlock and head to Woodriver Cellars tonight for its Murder Mystery Dinner. Enjoy a plated dinner and glass of wine while you take in a mystery-filled performance. Perhaps the vino will unlock your hidden sleuth. If so, you might just take home a prize for correctly identifying the killer.

Doors open at 6 p.m. and the show begins at 6:30 p.m. The cost is $32, or $27 for wine club members.

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