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Blood donation centers are now requiring your Social Security number be given before you donate; this ensures I will not donate blood.

About those $700/year lottery households: You know, the ones who never graduated high school who spend an average of $700 a year on lottery tickets I posted about yesterday? $700 a year works out to about $58 a month. What would happen if these people started putting that $2 a day into a good investment fund--mutuals, money markets, whatever--the day they dropped out of high school? Well, by the time they reached the age of 65 they would have over $1,500,000 in the bank. That would be in addition to any retirement plan, 401/403K, the value of their home, Social Security. In other words --- they would be millionaires. But if they're stupid enough to spend that kind of money on the lottery, they probably AREN'T smart enough to understand compound interest.

About Seattle: Look, I can honestly understand where some of these people were coming from. FOUR HOURS. If I'm sitting there in my non air-conditioned car with no food and no water desperately trying to think of some way to not be fired from my job, or I'm missing seeing a relative's few remaining hours, or I'm needed in surgery, or my kids are home alone, or I was supposed to pick my wife/kids/friend up 4 hours ago, and I can't, and instead I have to sit there for hours because some woman who can't handle her personal problems has decided to inconvenience thousands of people, all of whom are out on the road because they had somewhere they needed to be, then I'm not going to be in the best of spirits.

Suicide is weak, but if you're going to do it, if you've weighed the pros and cons and come to the conclusion it needs to be undertaken, then do it, and do it the right way, not in a way that disrupts the thousands of people who ARE strong enough to go on living. And if you DO get out there where you're going to be backing up traffic, BE DECISIVE! Either get it over with, or come on back to the light and GET HELP. Every action this woman undertook was of her own volition.

I'm not saying I would have been out instructing the woman to jump, because I wouldn't have (on the other hand, I also wouldn't be wishing her a Merry Christmas either), but I can only imagine what some of the commuters were going through. These are productive citizens, thousands of them, who WEREN'T choosing to kill themselves, who got bumped out of the way for some attention-seeking feeb who couldn't make up her pea-sized mind.

And as we don't yet have fully-integrated thought police in this country (though zero-tolerance rules, hate crime legislation, people who think if you've done nothing wrong you should have no problem handing over any and all freedoms to the government, and Katie Couric draw us inexorably toward that end), it really isn't any of the cops' business who said what.

OH, and this:

--Melrose, Iowa. Early Sunday morning, 30 year old Randy Carr heard the sounds of someone breaking into his home. 33 year old Ronald Frye had smashed a window and entered Carr's home. He was armed with a .44 Magnum revolver. He was looking for Sara Long, his ex-girlfriend. She was in the home with Carr. Frye fired first at Carr and hit him in the stomach. But Carr responded with shots from his semiautomatic rifle. With a bullet in his chest, Frye staggered out of the house and collapsed near his truck. Thankfully, Frye is now taking the eternal celestial dirtnap. Carr is in good condition at a local hospital. Police say Carr acted in self-defense and will not be charged. The story.

--Seattle, Washington. Late Monday night, a young man returned home--and found the front door wide open. He had surprised a burglar in his own house! Police are still trying to sort out what happened, but it looks like the homeowner pulled a gun and fired at least two shots at the intruder. The cops arrived on the scene to find the homeowner had suffered a head injury and was delirious. The burglar suffered a bullet wound to the leg and was captured a couple of hours later. He had apparently used duct tape to muzzle and bind the legs of the homeowner's dog. The story.

--Jacobson, Minnesota. Late Monday night, 56-year-old Jim Bennett returned home and let his dog, a chocolate Labrador retriever named Shadow, out of her kennel. As they approached the house, Bennett saw a cougar coming down the porch steps! Shadow and the cougar mixed it up--but the cougar gained the upper hand and was biting Shadow on the neck when Bennett kicked the cougar in the head. Bennett and his dog ran into the house. The cougar took off. But a couple of hours later, the cougar returned. This time it was tearing the bedding out of the doghouse outside. Then it came onto Bennett's porch, sniffed on the doorknob--and stared at Bennett through the glass door. That's when Bennett went and got his .357 Magnum revolver. He opened the door, stuck the gun out through the crack, and shot the cat. A recently retired wildlife research biologist with the state Department of Natural Resources says they've never had a case where a cougar came onto a person's porch. The story.

The point? Would the jealous ex-boyfriend...or the burglar...or the cougar have waited patiently for their would-be victims to find, unlock, and load their guns? Would any of them have paused to allow their victims to dial 911 and wait for the police to arrive? Of course not! Don't let the anti-gunners fool you into believing the police are your first line of protection. The police are usually just the mop-up crew. YOU are responsible for YOUR OWN SAFETY.