In This Episode: A “new” term is introduced to be the contrast to “obliviot” — and something else really bright (or is that dim?) from Real Life this week: Randy is at a loss for words trying to describe the total solar eclipse.
We discuss the attached story about Jimmy McCoy of Oklahoma City, Okla., which leads this week’s newsletter. (Click to see larger.)
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- The source story from KFOR in Oklahoma City is here. Mr. McCoy is in a heap of trouble, and is obviously considered innocent until proven guilty in court.
- To have a term for the opposite of an obliviot, I “stole” the word “bright” (as in, “He’s not a bright.”) from The Brights, which Wikipedia says is “an international intellectual movement [whose adherents] refer to themselves as ‘Brights’. They hold a naturalist worldview [and] believe that public policies should be based on science…. Brights are likely to oppose the practice of basing public policies on supernatural doctrines. Brights may therefore be described as secularists.” I know there are a lot of Mensa members reading True, but not many Bright readers have made themselves known to me.
- I mentioned some “big names” have identified as Brights. According to that Wikipedia entry, “Notable people who have self-identified as brights at one time or another include: biologists Richard Dawkins and Richard J. Roberts; cognitive scientist Steven Pinker; philosophers Daniel Dennett and Massimo Pigliucci; [and] stage magicians and debunkers James Randi and Penn & Teller.”
- The video I took of the shadow approaching us as we waited for totality is on my Eclipse Post, which also has a very cool video showing a satellite view of the shadow.
- The live Facebook video of my very Bright friend Chris Knight trying to describe his emotion at seeing the total eclipse is inserted here.
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Randy: Welcome to the Uncommon Sense podcast, where we delve a little more deeply in the stories and issues discussed in the thisistrue.com newsletter. I’m Randy Cassingham.
Clare: And I’m Clare Angelica.
Randy: And this week we’re discussing a story from issue 1210 of the newsletter, which will be included on the Show Page at thisistrue.com/podcast8. The story in question is called, “Dammit, Jim, I’m a Criminal Not a Doctor!” It’s about a guy named Jim, not Kirk, but McCoy, who was arrested in Oklahoma City after a burglary. So, after his arrest — or actually it says in the story, while he was being arrested, he suffered an “apparent seizure.” And as a volunteer medic, I have seen this so many times where somebody wants to get out of trouble, be it a drunk driving arrest or something else, and they said they’re having a seizure.
Randy: The problem is you can’t really say you’re having a seizure if you’re having a real seizure.
Clare: Because you can’t even speak.
Randy: Generally. There’s petit mal seizures that are really minor and sometimes they can talk in there. But even then, that’s kind of difficult. But it is a really classic dodge to say, “Oh, I’m having a heart attack. Oh, I’m having a seizure. I need to go to the hospital.” And I can tell you right now that it doesn’t get you out of your arrest. You’re still going to jail after you run up a ambulance and/or a hospital bill. And you know what? You still go to jail.
Clare: Dang it! I won’t try that one, then.
Randy: But this guy took it to another level. He was quite over the top in his “apparent seizure.” So I’ll read to you a couple of little details from the story, mostly quotes from Captain Bo Matthews, of the Oklahoma City Police Department, who said, “During this hospital stay, Mr. McCoy needed to use the bathroom. The officers did unlock his handcuffs that Mr. McCoy was wearing, so he could use the restroom facilities.” And once he got unlocked from the handcuffs, police say, he ran from the room in what police are calling, an escape attempt.
Clare: Never take off the handcuffs!
Randy: And you know that’s a pretty good rule. You wonder why cops are reluctant to take off the handcuffs. Or, sometimes, they’ll take it off and then cuff them to the gurney, the hospital bed. And you think, “Oh, that’s awfully mean.” But this is what happens when they play nice guy.
Clare: Yeah, they run. They’re free.
Randy: And, they already knew who the guy was. So know he’s added attempted escape from custody to his list of charges. So, according to the good Captain Matthews, McCoy ran down the hallway and into another patient’s room. Well, how do you get out of that? Well, he decided to jump up on the bed and try to climb into the ceiling tiles. There’s only one problem with that.
Clare: What’s the problem?
Randy: There was somebody in the bed. So then according to police, McCoy jumped up on top of the patient and stood on him in an attempt to climb through the ceiling to escape. That didn’t work ’cause cops showed up at the door and saw what was going on, and he didn’t have time to climb into the ceiling. So then, Matthews continues, “Mr. McCoy then attempted to jump outside the sixth-floor story window, by running and jumping into the window.” I love there’s a separate sentence here: “He did crash into the window.” And it’s a good thing he didn’t get through the window, because he was on the sixth-story and that probably would’ve hurt, landing in a bunch of shards of glass six stories below.
Clare: Yeah, either way, it’s not a good scenario.
Randy: But wait, that’s not all. He was still fighting off the cops: they had to pepper spray him to take him into custody, after all that. So five days after that, that hospital patient died. And so now McCoy has yet another charge: murder.
Clare: That was I didn’t understand. Is it because he stood on him? Or would the patient have died anyway, regardless? What was going on with that?
Randy: You know, I can’t answer for Oklahoma, but when I was a sheriff deputy in California, pretty much the rule is that if someone does something to somebody else that hastens their death by any amount, even if it’s — they’re almost dead and you turned off their oxygen and that hastened them by a minute and they died anytime in the next year and a day, that’s murder.
Clare: Wow. They give you a lot of leeway there.
Randy: At least in California, if you do something to somebody and they die within a year and a day, and it’s determined that you hastened their death, that’s murder. And in this case, the medical examiner there in Oklahoma City ruled the death a homicide. And if there’s a homicide, presumably there is a person who committed that homicide. In this case, that’s Mr. McCoy.
Clare: Wow. It fits with, I don’t know if you’re going to read his rap sheet there at the bottom. It semi-fits but yeah, that’s a heck of a charge.
Randy: Right. It’s actually not his rap sheet, which is previous convictions. And they didn’t actually go into that, so I don’t know if he has a rap sheet or not. But he’s going to now, probably, because the charges include: assault, attempted burglary, domestic assault and battery with a dangerous weapon — didn’t explain what that was about — attempted escape from custody, stealing a car — which they didn’t talk about — malicious injury — that’s probably what led to the murder — destruction of property — which they didn’t go into — and threatening to perform an act of violence — some kind of a threat against, I don’t know if that was cops or to do with something else. Bottom line is that KFOR in Oklahoma City didn’t go into a lot of detail about where this charges came from, but he’s got quite a few charges that are pending against him.
Clare: That was all from the incident? The one–
Randy: Apparently it’s all from recent history, because those are current charges. So my tagline on this, actually introduced a new term. We have obliviots and this guy clearly qualifies as an obliviot. So I’ve decided I needed something that’s the opposite of an obliviot. And I actually stole this term. An obliviot is kind of far on the one side of not being a very smart person: he’s oblivious and idiotic. So the opposite of that is a bright. The tagline is, “There’s a key difference between brights and obliviots. Brights know when to give up.”
Clare: Oh, thanks for explaining that! I didn’t quite catch that when I read it.
Randy: Well, it’s a good thing I picked this story to talk about. So as I said, I stole the term brights. That’s actually from a movement. According to Wikipedia, “the Brights Movement is an international intellectual movement. The members of that movement refer to themselves as brights. They hold a naturalist worldview. Most brights believe that public policies should be based on science, and are likely to oppose the practice of basing public policy on supernatural doctrines, and therefore may be described as secularists.”
Clare: Secularists! Oh!
Randy: So they are secular. And I’m aware of them because several of my friends have described themselves as brights. They do have a website — the-brights.net — and they say they are “participants in the international internet…” Internet: OK, so it’s Internet-based, “…constituency of individuals. All of us have a naturalistic worldview free of supernatural or mystical elements. A bright’s ethics and actions are based on a naturalistic worldview and the Brights aspire to an egalitarian civic vision. We want citizens who have a naturalistic worldview to be accepted as full participants in civil society.” So that’s where I swiped the word.
Clare: I’ve seen that website, now that you said the domain name. I don’t remember how or where, but I remember looking at.
Randy: So I’m not a member of this group and I don’t endorse them, but I like the term. I think it’s a good term. They’ve got some big names in there, that are identifying themselves as members. I have not joined them myself, but I just thought it was a good word to use, as kind of an opposite to obliviot.
Clare: It’s uplifting. It’s light.
Randy: I do like that. So I’ve been accused on occasion of being a little bit too dark with This is True, so that was one way to kind of lighten things up a little bit. Make it a little …brighter!
So speaking of bright, or maybe the opposite of bright, the other thing I did this week was pop up to the eclipse. I have some friends in Wyoming that let us come stay at their house, but they were still about three hours from the center line and of the “zone of totality.” So we stayed overnight at their house, took of in the morning, went up into rural central Wyoming where we could find a spot to sit in the zone of totality. Turns out that we’ve found some state parkland that was a hillside that overlooked the west. And I really wanted to be able to overlook the west because if you know there’s a total eclipse coming, you can actually look out and watch the shadow approach you.
Clare: Are you going to post that video …or did you already? That was really cool, to watch that shadow transition.
Randy: Yes, I did post the video and I will link to on the show page. The problem with the video is I took it with my cellphone, so it was trying to compensate for the changing light, which is … you know, I’m trying to show the light going away, and of course the cellphone, “Oh, I can fix that!” Hey, thanks a lot. But you still could see the shadow coming, and that’s pretty cool. So I will link to that on the Show Page.
That’s my first time seeing a total eclipse. I’ve seen little shadows going across the sun before — a partial eclipse — and I had no idea what the difference really was like, emotionally, to see. And it was mind boggling to see the sun completely disappear behind this ultra jet black disc of the moon.
Clare: I want to see the next one, hopefully.
Randy: So the people we went with, we actually said, “Can we come visit?” Not that they were going to see the eclipse and invited us. We invited ourselves. “Can we stay at your house?” And they had heard there was the eclipse coming, but they didn’t have any plans to go look at it, even though we were only a couple of hours away from totality. So when we made that proposal that we’re going, with their permission, come and visit them, they decided to go with us. And they were just blown away by what they saw. And they also are saying, “Yeah, we want to go see the next one now.” It’s something you can’t really describe to someone who hasn’t seen it, as to what it looks like, but it is just so awe inspiring to see that. I just can’t describe what it was. A good friend of mine– I showed Clare this video that a good friend of mine recorded. He went on live because he had a really good Internet connection. So he went on Facebook Live and recorded the video saying, “OK, it’s all done. Here’s a couple of my pictures…” — and how he underestimated the whole experience. And he started breaking down, almost crying, while he was doing this live video feed on Facebook. And it was really touching to see how he just couldn’t quite contain his emotions. He said he didn’t have the emotions while he was watching it, but then trying to absorb it all and what it was he saw, he broke down.
Clare: Yeah, he could’t put words to that. That was an incredible video.
Randy: So how do you describe to somebody what it is that so emotional … you know, that’s good poetry is about, I guess. You try to describe emotion, but there really isn’t a way… I’m a full-time professional writer and I don’t have a real way to express that myself.
Clare: I think watching his face — I mean, I felt it. I didn’t get to see what he did, but wow, you could feel that emotion coming off of him in that video. That was incredible.
Randy: So bottom line is, if you get a chance to go see a full eclipse, take it. Go! Theoretically they were going to have the “traffic jam of the century,” of people leaving once everybody got there. And some people arrived the day before. So going in, we didn’t have much traffic. But yeah, coming out there was a lot of traffic. Even though we were in a really rural part of the state, we weren’t the only ones that thought of going there. So there was a fair amount of traffic coming back. It took about three hours to go up, and then four or five to come back. But you know what? It was absolutely worth the time to get that experience.
So maybe, perhaps, coming up in the next issue, I don’t know yet, we’ll have some kind of eclipse obliviousy. I don’t know if anybody went blind by looking at it without the glasses. I know that there had to have been some mishaps, so I’ll be looking for some funny stories about the eclipse for the next issue and maybe well talk about that in the next podcast.
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The Show Notes for this episode with the details and links discussed this week are at thisistrue.com/podcast8, that’s the digit 8. I’m Randy Cassingham.
Clare: And I’m Clare Angelica. Thanks so much for joining us this week on Uncommon Sense.
Randy: And we’ll talk at you later.
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