C-Hill at Sunset

C-Hill at Sunset
Here is the Sunset of C-Hill, C-Hill is a prodominate landmark at Chadron State College and of the City of Chadron, NE

Friday, May 30, 2014

Global Competence

     In previous posts we have discussed Ethnocentrism and how it can be both good and bad, Globalization, essentially everything from my assignment posts were about global issues. This one is about global competence, which is essentially what everything else is about, in part since this was a study abroad. Now, what is global competence? To me in simple terms it is about knowing cultures, customs, issues, and other topics where different countries and groups of people differ. This is what the current world is based on. This is a world economy. After World War I and World War II: world politics, alliances, controversies, and other issues between each country. If we have learned anything from Israel and Palestine, knowing history may help.   Essentially the more we know about other countries the better off we are as a country and as an economic power.  The more competent a person is, the more time can be spent enjoying a vacation instead of trying to learn how to cross a street without getting hit by a car. The more you know, the less time would be spent trying to figure out the denomination of coins, or learning how to use their public transportation. Global competence can not only help world leaders but also world travelers and tourists. Now considering how easy it is to travel how many more people travel now than before, and how interconnected and globalized the economy, and now we always here what is happening elsewhere, be it someone being offended by what someone else said, or a country getting ready to go to war over an action by another.  Global competence is kind of important and becoming more important every day.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Civic Engagement thinking Globally

This year there are many elections going on. Some of them include but not limited in its entirety to U.S. midterm elections, E.U. Parliament elections, Indian elections, Scotland voting whether or not to stay apart of the U.K. or not, and others. With that it is said that in a democratic society, one of the simplest and most important acts of civil engagement. I will give that statement credit for the importance of it, but simplest, not so much.  Yet, is it simple? When the Scottish vote to stay apart of the U.K., there are some things they need to consider. Whether or  not they will need join the U.N., the E.U., whether or not their economy can stand on its own, their military, essentially could their country hold up on its own or not, and what help could they get, but with that what level of sovereignty would they be willing to give up? The Indian election they would need to figure out who will best lead the country of over 1.2 trillion people. Then the European elections will determine who will determine one of the governing bodies of nearly 30 countries that take some research to determine who will govern more than half of the countries that were the major players in both WWI and WWII. This requires research to determine who can work with who and who will decide to do what is best for Europe. Example on how this is important, was it the best idea for the E.U. bail out Greece a few years back? Each country has their own interests and the voters need to determine the best way to balance them .

Speaking of trying to balance their vastly different interest that brings me to the U.S. midterm elections.  In the U.S. elections, I fear we do not research things nearly enough. Many people feel if they are Conservative they should vote Republican, and if they are Liberal should vote Democrat. They repeat what their candidate says without even thinking about what their candidates actually said.  So, for roughly the past five years Republicans have said they hate Obamacare and Democrats have said they love Obamacare. Yet, if some Republicans look at it, they will like something about it. If Democrats really looked at it, there would be somethings they didn’t like about it. Why? They are politicians, they are people and they do not everything perfectly. Yet it passed, so there must be something to it. So at the end of the day, we really do not fully understand the issues, or the answers because we listen our side and not the other. With that said all of the other elections I listed above, have the same problems. Any election with partisan cheerleaders or cheer leaders for specific people will have the problems. So, anyone who reads this if you are voting in the previously listed elections or one I missed, do me a favor play devil’s advocate, you may change your mind. Also do some research, so you know people actually have reasons for voting for the other side. Also, do not vote if you have not done research, just since you were told it is a great idea. You are not helping anything. In fact you are canceling out the votes of the people who took the time to learn about the issues.

For the record, this assignment post was to be on advancement of civil engagement while thinking about being a global citizen. I personally think the best way to be civilly engaged as a global citizen is through thoughtful elections. Why, since if citizens of an area are going to be judged by their elected officials then we need elected officials who make wise decisions for their people and on behalf of their people.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Im back in the U.S., thank you's , reflection, and Happy Memorial Day

Hello everybody, I am coming to you all from Chadron, NE! Yes I have some back! With that said the past 2 weeks have been absolutely incredible. I did so many things I will not forget, like the British Museum, the Natural History Museum, going to the Tower Bridge, watching the Changing of the Guard from Buckingham Palace, 10 Downing Street, going to the Special Operations Room in the Central Control Center, going to Windsor Castle, Westminster Abbey, Parliament, and a lot of others that can be read about from the previous posts.  Also a thank you so much personally who made this trip both possible and awesome. Dr. Watson for starting this trip nearly 40 years ago (they have taken this trip 37 times but there years where they did not take this trip). Thank you Dr. Nobiling for making the trip happen this year and for what you could to make it as it was. The various people at CSC and from Team George (a group of people who work towards getting funds for scholarships to make sure the trip started by Dr. George Watson continues) for helping get the funds to make this trip less of a loan burden later on.

The wonderful people at the ISA (International Study Abroad) with both Maria, many of the other people we met once or never met, for getting everything organized in London for us to do, the coaches for us to ride, the Oyster cards for more transportation assistance and for help with so many other things as possible.  Constable Watson for getting everything organized on the end of the Metropolitan Police Department and getting us the lectures, allowing us to see things and do things most people, even those in London, do not do and do not see. I mean Maria one of the main people at the ISA who helped us a lifetime Londoner, went behind the gates of Buckingham Palace during the Changing of the Guard and to the door of 10 Downing Street for the first time in her life, with a group of American college students. Everybody else at the London Metropolitan Police Department, for working with Constable Watson, in allowing us to do what we did, for helping us with our lectures, and in general being as open as they were about their careers.  JoAnn, she was the Solicitor who gave up her time and us insight into the U.K. legal system. Sarah, she did just about all of our cultural tours giving us insight into the history of the city and other parts of the country, also a little into how the country and government works.

In general, this trip I think helped me understand the world around me, both as planned with the trip, and unplanned with the random people who I met. If I get the job in policing or something else within the system, or a job in security (like my current one at the college) or something like it, I think I learned a few things that may help me do those jobs better. Everything I have done on this trip will stay with me for life. Thank you to everyone else who I did not mention who made this trip possible and awesome.

One other thing, thank you United Kingdom for coming up with the tomb of the Unknown Warrior. It is the idea that eventually led to the Tomb of the Unknowns or the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in the Arlington National Cemetery.  This is a national treasure that is probably the best way to remember those who died in action and were never identified. To those in the United States and everyone around the world who knows an American soldier who paid the ultimate price for their country. Happy Memorial Day. Happy Bank Holiday to the U.K

The Tomb of the Unknown Warrior in Westminster Abbey, photo credit Wikipedia (we were not allowed pictures)


 The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetary, photo credit Google

Saturday, May 24, 2014

cause and effect of international opinions on events

We live in a world with different sides on every issue. When the United States killed Osama Bin Laden, we were happy that the man behind 9/11, and at least 4 other attacks on the U.S. (2 embassies, the U.S.S. Cole, and a car bombing on the World Trade Center) died.  On the other hand, many people from Pakistan were upset about it, whether or not they supported Bin Laden. Why? Many of them looked at it as the U.S. invading Pakistan to carry out the mission, since it occurred in Pakistan. In my opinion both sides have a point. Those are also two polar opposite on the same issues. Granted there are many opinions held by people in both the U.S. and Pakistan on the same event and this is a simplified look at it, but still goes to show, one event can result in many of different perspectives. Prince Charles’ comment comparing Putin to Hitler, to save face various members of the British government has condemned the comment, but there are people in Britain and elsewhere who agree, and there are many who disagree. Another example of how there can various view points on the same issue. This frankly is as normal and has as long of a history as people having opinions. With that said when people across the world have differing interpretations of what is happening things can get big and bad quickly. Hitler and the members of the Nazi party had their opinions of the Holocaust, and whether or not it should happen, which was in stark contrast to the opinions of Western Europe, and most of the Western Hemisphere. At the same time, I have my personal opinions, it is worth noting that it ultimately lead to World War II which killed over 50 million people, more than 30 million of them being civilians. There is still a dispute whether or not the war in the Pacific Theater should have ended the way it did or not (the dropping of the atomic bombs on Japan). World War I, was based mostly on countries forming alliances and one small war based on an assassination, it ultimately planted the seeds for World War II, and itself killed over 30 million people. Like right now differences in perspectives are not that dangerous. The opinions of Prince Charles’ line about Putin has not started a war. With that said, history has shown such comments can be dangerous since those differing opinions can create tension (in a situation that already has plenty of it. In the end, we just need to monitor the  opinions of people and maybe try to tame them, especially in countries like the U.S., the U.K., Russia, and others. Since again different perspectives can lead tension, tension can lead to war, and if these and other countries go to war, same thing with the killing of Osama Bin Laden and same with other events. Remember the story is the bombing of Pearl Harbor was about a trading embargo of raw material to Japan. That action lead to Pearl Harbor, which lead to America fighting in World War II (that may have inevitable but that is a different conversation) which lead to the dropping of the atomic bombs. The action of the embargo and differencing opinions about it, had a lasting effect.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Local events effecting the world

Over some of the days, we have talked to the London Metropolitan Police Department about when their events go right and wrong. Their events that went right include both the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics, which were about a month apart. Events that went wrong, they have had a few protests and riots that went badly, and them there was the Tube and double decker bus bombing in multiple locations in 2005. These were all local events (granted the Olympics and the Jubilee was larger than local they were centered around London) that had an international effect. All of these events most likely put law enforcement agencies and militaries on higher security levels due to the possibility of unrest developing. When protests happen in one location it can expand around the same or other causes (an example includes the Occupy movement). The Olympics now almost seem to go hand in hand now with protests. Actions like when the U.K. banned firearms (right now all that is legal is essentially shotguns for target practice for the general population) changed the world market for both legitimate and black market gun sales worldwide.  The world has become so globalized, one action be it cultural, fiscal, or other could send ripple or shockwaves through the world. Also for those who do not believe a small local thing can have a world effect. Prince Charles compared The Russian President Vladimir Putin to the former leader of the Third Reich and the Holocaust in World War II Germany Adolf Hitler. These comments were made in a small one on one conversation the prince had with another person. Now with the internet and other forms of electronic communication, a comment made face to face in a one on one setting, can set off an international firestorm, just look at what is happening now between the United Kingdom and Russia.

Day 12, last tour and back to history

Here we are on Day 12, and our last scheduled trips while we are here in London. We started it off with a tour of Oxford….. University that is. Now since we talked about so much, I will just give all of the footnotes. We dove head first into talking about some of the buildings, and some of the great minds that this place was involved in. Some of the writers who has links to Oxford here and their works include: J.R.R. Tolkien, who wrote both the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings Series, C.S. Lewis who wrote the Narnia series (it has been rumored the concept of the Wardrobe entrance to Narnia is based on him running through a cloak room into a blizzard and coming out to a lamppost as he snuck out of the chapel on campus), Lewis Carrol real name Charles, wrote Alice in Wonderland, which take sits name from a real girl who live in the town of Oxford. Carrol attending the Christ’s Church College which is where portions of both “Golden Compass” and various scenes from the “Harry Potter” series was films and the dining hall was the inspiration for the Hogwarts dining hall. Some other notable alumni includes both John Locke, and William Penn, seriously look up their alumni list, there are way too many important people to count. Also  with one of the 38 colleges being called Christ’s Church College, religion is important there, and we did visit one of their chapels, which is also the town chapel.

The theme of the trip was being busy, and this day was not exception, next we went to Stratford Apon Avon, where William Shakespeare was born. For those wondering, we did discuss the concept that Shakespeare could have been a pen name for one or many ghost writers. Though, we are certain the man did live and was alive around the time the books were written, his place of birth and where he lived most of his live is on display in Stratford. We are also certain he has no direct decedents. As far as we know his direct lineage went as far as grandchildren. With that said his blood was carried on through his sister (no not like that, as in since they came from the same parents.)

After we were done there, we went on to Warrick Castle. The place was first developed by William the Conqueror in the 1000’s (it was really started 200 years earlier, but not really for the purpose of a castle). As things go, things were built others were torn down. I believe the oldest currently standing structure went up in the 1200’s. With that said the royal development of this castle is ironic since it was used by the rebels in the English Civil War in the 1600’s. Today, it is a historical fun place. They have a birds of prey show, the dungeons, a gaol (ye old English version of the jail), a wall and tower walk, where you can climb the structure and walk along the walls the making of the king and other exhibits. Most of them are educational, as in they tell a lot about the history of the castle as you enjoy the entertainment. What would be the only thing that could have made this day any better? The weather could have been better, which in itself has not been that bad all trip. So, I will stop complaining about that.  

Day 11, Just read it, you will not believe what happens.


So, today went a little differently than it was pitched, and no, I am not complaining.  We were asked to dress up in, and the phrase was, “in our Sunday’s best,” with the plan for the day being New Scotland Yard. For those who do not know, New Scotland Yard is the head of the London Metropolitan Police. This department also works, in part, as the security for the Queen and the Prime Minister. So, this department is a big deal worth dressing up, but Sunday’s best may be pushing it. So we hop on the Tube (the subway system) and arrive at New Scotland Yard, then we were told there was a side trip. So, we took a hike through St. James Park, to a house I visited with some other students the previous day, Buckingham Palace. It was also about the same time, we arrived at 11:00AM, which is the time for the Changing of the Guards. Now, I heard the stories of the previous year, where they watched it from behind the gates. We wouldn’t be so lucky, right? I mean, we were with Constable Watson, the guy who is going to be retiring 1 year and 23 days from when this is posted (but who is counting) and he has been working for years with a lot of the royal events. With that said, the experience of going behind the gates especially for the Changing of the Guard, is not guaranteed. This must get worked out. Strings must get pulled, would lightning strike two years in a row? Would I have this much build up if it didn’t? So here I am behind the gates, close to the Palace watching the Changing of the Guard. Thankfully, this time there was a pamphlet, and the security watching us like hawks (can you blame them) were there explaining the proceedings to use. When you have someone there who knows what is happening explains it, it makes a lot more sense, and becomes more enjoyable. With that said it was still long.  When it was all over, a motorcade drove up, and they said the Queen must be going somewhere. We insisted on staying so we could catch a glimpse of the Queen, they insisted to leave so we could stay on schedule. I wondered what could be so important.

10 Downing Street. Does that sound familiar? We went up to the door, and it is the British equivalent of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. For those who do not know, this is the addressee of the Prime Minister. When we were told we need to keep on schedule earlier at the palace that is why. This is again something they did last year. Though, might I add for anyone doing this trip next year, again nothing is guaranteed. We do not know what the security threats will be, also we do not know how large the group will be. We do not know if Prince Charles will call anyone else Hitler, which apparently makes people mad.  There is another cultural comparative. In the U.S., if the president has picture or posters with a Hitler mustache, it is becoming a rite of passage. In Russia, they get upset. With that being said, what could make this day better, and it is only 2:00PM.

Oh yeah, that’s right this is a Criminal Justice trip, and it was planned for us to go to New Scotland Yard, why not, let’s do that too. At this time, we met up with the group from the University of Nebraska Omaha. Here, we discussed the things that the Metropolitan Police Depart does. We then talked about the 2012 London Olympics and what they did to prepare for that. The entire thing ended with a light hearted comparison between police in the U.K. and police in the U.S. All in all, the talk was fun, and a good way to wrap up a good day.

One more quick note from Buckingham Palace. As we were watching the Changing, there was one thing they reminded us from time to time. This was these are guys from the British military, who agreed to do ceremonial duty. One of the officers said, some who are doing this today may have been doing a tour of duty recently. So anyone who watches the Queen’s Guard at any event should probably remember that.

Day 10 School's out for.....today, Free Day!

Woot, free day! This was a day where we were on our own to see what we want, and do what we want. I went with Charlotte and Jordan to Buckingham Palace for the changing of the guard. This is a very long yet intriguing ceremony. It is hard to describe beyond that, so this is a case of you just got to check it out for yourself. Anyway, from there, we checked out Camdentown. There we checked out a market area with mostly clothes on sale. From there, I left them to go check out Regent’s Park again. This time I ran into a group of guys in a 6 team league where they play American football. They are the London Hornets, and play other teams around the U.K. On this day they had practice. I talked to their coach, and he said that the player paid 100 pounds for the league and another 20/per game. This shows they truly play this for the love of the game. Despite the fact most of them have never lived in the states.  Anyway, after words, I met up with a group of people from the College of London University, most of them the same group I met with to play Ultimate Frisbee. It is interesting when you eat and compete with people sport how much more you can learn about both them and their cultures than just by talking to them.     

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Day 9 all about the law

Today it was all about the British legal system. We started off at the U.K. Supreme Court. Now a Supreme Court is something relatively new for the U.K. How young? It was made in 2009….A.D., it is 5 years old. Until then the highest court was ran by Parliament, if I remember right, it was House of Lords. So, in the current Supreme Court, they reside over all 4 nations in the U.K. in civil cases, and over 3 of the 4 in criminal cases (not Scotland since they already had one). Anyway, so we looked at two of their courtrooms, where we were briefed in most aspects of the U.K’s highest court. We then went into their Commonwealth’s Supreme Court room. Here they have cases from all of their commonwealth nations, which include countries like Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago.  Then we went up to check out a Supreme Court case.

After a break we then started with what we call the London Legal Walk through what they call Legal London. We started at an Appellate Court. We again got briefed on what happened, with the back drop of judges and baron (upper level lawyers instead if solicitors, long explanation) walking by in robes and wigs. Yes, they still do that.  We then split up and checked out different cases in progress. This is keeping in mind cases go in order of magistrate/ crown court-appellate- supreme court. To continue the walk from there, we then visited the four inns. This is where all U.K. barons get their training. Again, it was a legal walk, so all four of them are within walking distance, within London.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Day 8, word of the day: Tradition

To start off with, it has been a fun first half of the trip, let's hope the 2nd half lives up to the first half!
Day 8 started off with a treat. We watched the rehearsal for the trooping of the Colors (Colours). The Trooping of the Colors is an annual parade done for the Queen’s “birthday”. Here real birthday was a few weeks ago, but, per tradition, and Britain history, for well over 250 years now, they have celebrated the “birthday” of the monarch on the second Tuesday of June. This was a major exercise of being fanciness and pageantry, no doubt about that. Though,  it kind of showed the other side of the guards. Yes, the Queen’s guards. This was the first of two closed rehearsals. The next two times they do this will be their higher ups to observe and critique what is supposed to be a perfect performance, and those will also be public performances. The real one will be in front of the Queen, most of the royal family, and their roughly 5,000 invited guests. This will be a huge event they do not want to mess up. The thing is, these guys are advertised as perfect to the rest of the world. These are the guards known to not smile when on duty, or move. While they are guarding. Yet, I saw them out of step, or lining up wrong, and other mistakes. At the end of the day they are people, and I wish them the best of luck for the next month.

                After that we made a quick stop over at the London Metropolitan Police Department Museum. They have what is expected. They have artifacts of the first police, and as time went on, artifacts from the first women police, some artifacts from the Jack the Ripper murders.  Also even though this is a tiny museum smaller then my tiny one bedroom apartment, they still have the…. Gift shop. There was one thing I learned that I found interesting. For the most part after the series came back I started watching Dr. Who. Now this museum has a smaller Police Call Box. A Police Call Box was in the days before radios or cell phones. So a member of the public could call the police, or the police could get a call from their department saying a call came in from near where they answered the call. This is also a place where they could make notes of calls police actions, etc… The one they had at the museum was one of the smaller ones, roughly 1 ft wide and 5 or 6 feet tall. The larger ones were the size of a phone booth. In the 1960’s and 1970’s they started coming down due to changes in technology. After they came down the BBC copy wrote the look of and the name of the Police Call Box. That is one of the reasons why there is one left in London (according to the man we talked to in the museum).

                We then finished out day with a lecture at  London’s King College. Here we talked about the basics of U.K. policing, (specifically in England and Wales), the court system, and general governance and politics. Why would we go into all of that? The U.K. is weird. England has the same general police system and Legal System. The entire U.K. is under the U.K. Supreme Court when we are talking civil matters, and Northern Ireland is involved in criminal matters through the Supreme Court, but Scotland is not.  We also talked about the U.K’s lack of a Constitution, and how their Constitution is taking pieces of the Magna Carta (nearly 800 years  old), the Human’s Rights Act of 1998, and tradition.

My perspective on the Anti-Americam thoughts in Europe

Over the time of this trip, I have ran into people from all continents excluding Antarctica, I have also talked with and had discussions  about the differences between the U.S. and other areas (especially Europe) with people from about 4 or 5 countries. So of these people have been as subtle as saying they do not know if we consider ourselves to the “world’s police” or not, and as blunt as saying the hate Republicans. At the same time that person was not too happy when he heard that Obama wanted the U.S. to go into Syria. One of the differences he said was he thinks that American Liberals are more on the right 9on the political spectrum) than European Conservatives. Now those are some of the few conversations I have had with people on his subject since, while I am in England there are things I want to do beyond asking people why they hate my people. Though here are some things I have noticed, my accent has turned heads. Some people have said they loved it, others smile when they hear it, other are smiling hear it, and then turn away. Some Europeans look at Americans as exotic, others look at us as nothing new. Now I think this may be in part since I have possibly met more people from other countries then I have met people  from England, so when they come here they  don’t expect to run into one of us. Anyway, I think another reason why a lot of people around the world don’t like us is since we are invading…. Culturally. While I have gone to bed or wake up, I usually turn on the television for a bit for background noise. Even though I only turn on the TV 1-3 times daily, and probably total out to about an hour each day, and where I only have 24 channels, with 4 being music, and 5 being news, on the other 15 other channels I can find at least 1 American TV show or movie. These are all considering every station with the exception of 3 which are news or British, and the other ones are foreign language channels. When I am on a music channel, or at a restaurant or other business with music, roughly 4 out of 5 songs I hear is American.  When I was in Bath, I found a CD store/DVD store, they had more British music but so many more American DVD’s then British DVD’s. There are so many McDonald’s Burger Kings, Subways, Pizza Huts, Starbucks, and Ben and Jerry’s here. There are as many restaurants that advertise American food as there are hat  advertise Italian food.  Its lie how some Americans get so tired of seeing on labels made in China, so more and more Americans get mad at China. At the end of the day many Europeans feel like Americans, that we are full of ourselves, and that we are oblivious to everything else in the world, and that we don’t care (which goes a little against the police state idea) but both of those ideas are here. That is out dignitaries do or say something, that Europeans don’t like, that we all agree with our leaders. So I think what may be some of  the best actions we could take is show, we can be smart and sensitive to international issues. So everyone that we individual thoughts that can go against those of our leaders, and pull them back in a bit more. Also, keep performers like Justin Bieber from becoming popular.     

Monday, May 19, 2014

Day 7 We got even older with Stonehenge and the Roman Baths

This is from Day 7, when we went to some of the oldest locations in the U.K., both of our main attraction locations were made in the B.C. years. We started off with Stonehenge. This was built in stages roughly between 3,000 and 2,500 B.C. Some people have theories that they were built to worship either the sun or the moon. This is since the direct middle that is on the access of the heel stones (on the outside of the circular area) lines up with both the summer and winter solstices. Though there are ditch like holes dug in the same quantities as there are days in a lunar month dug around the structure. Other thoughts include they were dug to honor the dead since there are mounds in the fields surrounding Stonehenge with what appeared to be the highly influential with their possessions, and what appeared to be more of commoner gravesites with many people buried widthwise in a linear fashion. Others say it is for the Gods since Woodhenge was built in a different location and things made of wood are for humans and like us are made to be temporary. On the other hands, Stonehenge was made out of stone, and like the Gods things made of stone is made to be permanent. The other big theory was that aliens made it. Why? Well, why not? If I remember properly, it was said the larger stones (sarsens) were brought from about 25 miles away and weighing about 40 tons. The smaller blue stones weigh about 5 tons and were brought from over 150 miles.

Next, we went to Bath, U.K. Bath started as a place lived at and enshrined by local natives (reason why to come later. It was then settles by the Romans, and then vacated as the Roman Empire fell. Then as time went on, and the area was resettled later on, when architects rebuilt the town to bring back the look it had during the roman times. We then looked specifically at some specific locations within the town before going to the main attraction, the Roman baths.  The Roman Bath was built on a hot spring worshipped by the people who already lived there since it is the only hot spring in the U.K. The locals associated the spring with their goddess Sulis, and the Romans associated it with their Goddess Menuva, so they combined the names to make it to be for the Goddess Menuva Sulis.  They built the springs and full pipework for it to flow making hot rooms (essentially saunas, cold rooms, the bath (hot tubish area) and other facilities. The stones were lined with led sheets to make them water tight, it had an overflow area, and all of the water drains into a local river. Not bad for people who didn’t have access to electricity.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Day 6, so much history door to door

Day 6 started off with a trip to Parliament. No, I was not able to shout at politicians for no real reason, but we were able to see where that all happens. We saw the House of Commons (elected) and the House of Lords (appointed). We learned how they vote on any measure and saw where that happens. For the record, they get up and move into one of two rooms of whether or not they want the measure to pass since we can see which rooms they walk into, we know who voted for what. We also learned and discussed on how it is officially not the Houses of Parliament but Westminster Palace, since that was what it was built for. Then, we talked about how it changed over time after bombings and fire, and construction since it was too small. We saw where both houses do most of their debates (in the U.S. we would say the bill was in Committee.

Then we went next door to Westminster Abbey. This place started as a monk ministry for the Catholic Church, and then King Henry the VIII in all of his wisdom had the country divorce the Catholic Church, so he could divorce his wife, since that does not sound desperate at all.  Why didn’t he tear down the abbey like he did with most of the others? Well, his parents where already buried there, as in, in the building. As of today , they are two out of hundreds of people bodies there The list of people buried there who are not royalty include, Charles Dickens, Charles Darwin, Sir Isaac Newton, and the Tomb of the unknown Warrior (similar that of the unknown warrior in the U.S.). In fact there are so many people buried there, especially in the floor for their graves, you have to walk on their graves (with the exception of the unknown warrior who no one walks on that one) just to walk through the abbey. This is even with a 90+ year band on burying bodies there, the recent burials there have all been cremations. Since now this is the house of the Church of England they also do weddings, and funerals there. This includes the wedding of Kate and Prince William and the funerals of Duchess of Wales Diana, and of the Queen mum.  This is also where the Coronation has happened, I think the year was 1366, and it has taken place in the same chair as well.

After that, we had a decent amount of time left in the day so I went to M&M world, and found out I am a mix of all M&M flavors. I then watched Arsenal win the FA Cup over Hull City 3-2, in a pub that is on the outside wall of the hotel we are staying in.

Day 5 Free Day!

Day 5, we had a day off, so I did nothing, funny concept ain’t it? No, I did things but I slept in. What I did do, I wondered through the British Museum. There I saw things from Ancient Egypt, the Natives of the Northwest, and by the I mean British Colombia Canada, Ancient Greece, Rome, China, Mesopotamia, including some items from the place with my favorite name, Ur. The most famous thing I saw here was the Rosetta stone. I also saw other items from Sphinx, not the Coliseum, but from other areas in both Rome and Greece, tools, writings in various languages totem poles and other old items. I also got an idea of why British museums tend to do so well. 1, most of them are free. Why is that important? Broke travelers or bored locals love free things. 2. We need more touchable items. The Rosetta stone is in a glass case, and I cannot blame them for that, but, they also have a replica of the Rosetta that has a sign on it, that says please touch. The concept of being able to touch something like that, even if it is a replica is exciting, it also becomes for kid friendly, and also probably a better experience for the blind. 3. This one shocked me after all of the museums I have been to in the states, but many items sat there, or where hung without barricades. As I already said the Rosetta stone was behind glass, and so where other items, some items where behind railings, others had velvet ropes, with that said, I would estimate nearly ½ of the items were sitting there without any form of barricade or protection.  That is excluding the staff, alarms, and security cameras, and they are concealing the cameras as time goes on.  With that said, you do not know, or care about that when you are looking at the item. All you know if you are staring face to face with history, and that you can get very close to it. As mentioned earlier these museums are free, but they accept donations, and have the inevitable overpriced gift shop.  

I then started to make my way to Buckingham Palace, but I made an unexpected stop along the way. I found blocks away from Green Park (which boarders the palace to the north) the National Portrait Gallery. Quick side note, as this trip is both Criminal Justice related as well as cultural, we are required to stop at a history museum, art museum, and a park, this is my last item on that list. I was actually excited for the British Museum since I like history, not so much for the portrait gallery, since I am not a huge art fan. Then I got to the gallery, I am still not a huge art fan, but it turned out to be better than I thought it would be. I walked in made a right, and I was in their WWI exhibit. They did more than showed portraits of the heads of states involved and the soldiers who fought them also told the story of the war. Towards the end of the exhibit they showed some of the more important faces.  They showed Archduke Franz Ferdinand, whose assassination was what got the ball rolling towards war 100 years ago next month, I do not recall the name, but the next portrait was of one of Ferdinand’s relatives, whose son’s death and the death of both of his nephews put Ferdinand next on the list to inherent the throne, until the assassination happened. I then check out a few other exhibits, and then I checked out Buckingham Palace, and then I called it a day.

Day 4, day out with the Bobbies

         On day 4, we started off with  the Central Communications Command, this is where the Metropolitan Police Department (the London Police) organizes all of their major operations, be it monitoring riots/protests,  to the Queen's Jubilee/state visits/ the Olympics, to events like the terrorist bombings of their Underground (subway system) and their buses in 2005. We got a general brief of how everything works their. The we visited their special operations room, where they have access to over 23,000 cameras, 3,000 owned by the met, and 20,000 where the met has access. This building is also one of three where 999 (the UK version of 911) calls come in from within London.

 After we were done in that building, we went  on a hike to find Mike Messinger Hall. This building plays a special role for the London Police. This building houses a cafeteria which is the base for feeding all of the officers when they go through the events mentioned above. They may run hundreds to thousands of officers in this rather small cafeteria, use feeding trucks to get everything to their officers on the streets, or both. After we looked at discussed all of that, we went in for the days' main event, we checked out the mini dojo (I say mini since even though they use it at times, they have larger ones too) where they train officers  in self-defense techniques. This training is especially important in the U.K., since as mentioned in a previous post, the vast majority of officers here do not carry firearms. For the most part they carry on their person: CS spray (chemical spray, not mace, it kind of induces a minor allergic reaction), baton, or asp, handcuffs, and a radio. Web  did walk through with training devices for 3 out of the 4 items just mentioned. which one did we not use? Well, I recommend the Metropolitan Police start to use a modified older model Nokia, what we refer to as brick phone, for a radio so they can use all 4 items.    

      Quick note about the title of the  post, Sir Robert Peel, who also went on to become Prime Minister, essentially started the London Police Department, which was essentially a first in the world, so their officers' nicknames can from his name, Robert-Bobby. 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Day3, in court with judge judy er the magistrate

      Today was a relatively quick one, we spent 2 hours roughly getting a crash course from a defense attorney and then watching it all go down. It was weird since the defendant actually sat in a glass box away from everyone else. They have a small gallery where observers can watch, which varies from one row behind a railing to three rows in a different glass box. These cases are a preliminary hearing to a low level case (we would call misdemeanors) or sentencing. If a person wants a trial, or it is more serious (more towards a felony) it would get sent up to the royal courts.

     After we watched all of that we were done. I stopped at the ISA office for bit then I went back to the hotel. I took a nap then hit the town to check out the local parks. I first went to Russel Square to get started at a small park a block away, and then went to Regents Park. All I got to saw is Google Map it. It is freaking beautiful. There they have business related organized softball, they also have organized and unorganized soccer, er futball, er, I'll stick with soccer. I even got in on a game of ultimate Frisbee. So now I am sore and tired, any off to bed for the night, and then to get back at it bright and early at 9.00 AM, as I continue on in London.

Day 2, at the Police station, and got Rocked by a show

On day 2 (Tuesday the 13th) we went to the Charring Cross Police Station.  On this day we met out officer tour guide Constable Watson. He showed us a bit of the department. From here we discussed some things about London, and some of the things that make policing here difficult, and example of that would be that here, there are people who speak over 300 languages. Also that the city has a population of roughly 7.5 million and that nearly doubles between people who live out of town and work in the city as well as the tourists during the day. Part of the trip included a look at some of their holding facilities, as well as how the departments are setup throughout the UK. We also took a look at a little of their equipment both of today and historically. Essentially, what do they have a stick (which has changed over the years to include becoming more painful) handcuffs, a radio bulletproof/stab proof vests (apparently stabbings is a problem), a helmet and CS (chemical spray, we generally say OC spray, essentially it is a spray able tear gas). They also have the helmet, and a car, that is it. Then you have other groups in the department with guns, which it seems like in general, 1-2% of the officers are trained and on the job for that. The numbers they used were about 10% of their officers are trained for firearms, and 10-20% of those officers are on duty in that capacity at a time.
Afterwards we had some free time, so I figured I would take in a show. So I bought tickets to go see We Will Rock You, which is a musical based on the music of Queen and a convenient 8 blocks away. Better yet, I got the tickets on discount, in Row F, or 6 rows from the stage, 4 seats off of center stage. Yeah they were pretty good seats. Now, here is the bad news they are discontinuing the show. They last show is scheduled for May 31th.  In all seriousness, it is a great show, it had great music and great performers, and I am upset it is closing, though, I am extremely happy to have seen it before it closes. http://www.wewillrockyou.co.uk/home.php#/news

Im in London, and they have pigeons

So, I apologize for not posting anything since I have arrived, I have had some logistics issues which may continue, so I may not be posting periodically, Though, I currently plan to post on occasional days, multiple days to keep the blogs organized and easier to read lengths. So let us start out with the trip out. It snowed. It snowed in sections Nebraska, and it snowed at Denver International Airport, and they had to deice the plain before we left.    Yes, it is May, and it did not feel like it, until we got into London. Before I go there, let me just say the British Airlines flight was awesome, complete with 2 meals, free drinks, and movies. The only issue, it was hard to sleep, but why sleep when you have movies to watch. Anyway, we arrived in London, we were greeted by some of the awesome staff members of the ISA (International Study Abroad). They are the group that Dr. Nobiling has been working with to set up a lot of our visits, also to help us get acclimated and get around London. An example of that was they gave us all oyster cards to use as 2 week passes on the underground (their subway system).
 Anyway, the people of the ISA drove us to go see Windsor Castle, which is nearly a millennium in age, and is the oldest royal residential castle in Europe if not the world. This is since this is the Queen’s main residence outside of Buckingham Palace. No, the trip/tour did not include meeting the queen, but it did include a step back into history of the castle. We saw restorations and original paintings of various royalty. We also saw the set up and the design of rooms, some meant to intimidate (a lot of guns and swords), and some meant to honor, including shields for the knights of the Order of the Garter. Before we went into the castle, we also looked at St George’s Cathedral. It is not a large place, but still unbelievable in so many ways.  After that we finally found our way to the hotel and had dinner.
After that Dr. Nobiling took us out to use our Oyster cards, and figure out the Underground so we knew what we were doing when we actually would travel. So we got off at the Tower Hill station. We got off and walked for a bit, and only Nobiling knew why. We stopped and she pointed out a wall, that was built by the Romans, also nearly a millennia ago. That was pretty cool, but we were tired, and she wanted us to continue walking. Then we came across a building I recognized, the Tower of London.  It was so late, we could not go in it, but I did not care, I was staring at the freaking Tower of London! Little did I know we were not done, nor did I know what was right around the corner, The Tower Bridge.  From there we had a beautiful view of the river Thames and a new attraction in town, the tallest building in Europe, the Shard. Great way to finish the night, and at that point we all got some well needed sleep. 

Oh for the record, YOU CANNOT GET AWAY FROM PIGEONS! They are over here to! Where can I go to get away from these things?