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Caught on Camera
July, 2019 - Issue #178
Being human, a big part of the day-to-day job description is watching other humans do stuff. We watch our kids to make sure they're safe, our co-workers to make sure they're accountable and our exes to make sure they're not too happy. With all of this real-life watching, it's a wonder that one of our favorite things to do with our free time is yet more watching. Sure, there are great fictional shows to binge, but there's an undeniable appeal to watching video of even more real life - sports, news, what have you. Cameras are everywhere, we are capturing everything. The question isn't availability, but whether we want to watch what all those cameras capture.

After the Chase
One of the uniquely SoCal forms of video expression is the police-car chase. Pursuits happen everywhere, but here, there are just enough open freeway options and news helicopters to make for compelling live video. A recent chase that made the national news involved a woman in an RV in Santa Clarita. Authorities realized that the RV was stolen and the driver tried to escape. The chase began in Towsley Canyon and moved south through the San Fernando Valley. En route, the driver lost chunks of the unwieldy, wobbling RV; hit many other vehicles and a palm tree; and had dogs along for the ride, one of which jumped out on the way. Even to us jaded SoCal viewers, this chase was prime-time worthy.

The part of these pursuits that never gets as much camera coverage is the aftermath. We've since learned the driver was 52-year-old Julie Rainbird. She didn't own the dogs in the RV, which are now safe and recovering. She faces multiple felonies and perhaps over a decade in prison. Chases may be gratuitous TV, but at least this one ended without fatalities and taught a clear lesson in consequences.

Bear with Us
People buy the Ring Video Doorbell for a sense of security. It takes video whenever someone approaches. The downside is getting confirmation that the monsters you feared are really out there. The cameras have recorded people grabbing Amazon packages off of doorsteps, peeking in windows and vandalizing homes. In Santa Clarita, the cameras have also captured black bears wandering various neighborhoods. This spring, of the over half-a-dozen bear sightings, at least a couple were recorded by Ring Doorbell systems.

Has it been one bear seen many times, or many bears seen once? With sightings in Stevenson Ranch, Valencia and Canyon Country, the answer partly depends on how good bears are at crossing major roads. It seems fair to assume that there were at least two bears because one appeared in Canyon Country mere days after wildlife authorities darted and removed a bear from Valencia. So is it safe out there? According to the Wikipedia page, "List of fatal bear attacks in North America," black bears have killed only about one person per year in recent decades. The odds of being attacked are exceedingly low, but you may be safest watching them on video.

Patriotic Viewing
Watching car chases and nosy wildlife on camera is one thing, but parades need people in-person, on the sidelines. Otherwise, it's just an unusually-colorful traffic jam. As you've probably guessed by now, this is my annual appeal to you to attend the Santa Clarita Valley Fourth of July Parade. It starts at 9, and it's kind of by the DMV (For more helpful information: scvparade.com.). This year's theme is, "The Signal Century: Celebrating Our Press Freedom." Sounds like a can't miss!

You can technically watch a video stream, but in person will be so much better for this 87th year of the parade providing mild, patriotic spectacle. Last time I heard such raves as, "It wasn't as hot as usual," "I think I know that guy," and, "Oh look, a horse." I pray that my long-dreamed for "Westeros, USA!" entry is realized after the recent series finale of "Game of Thrones." Red witch, white walker, ice blue: all the ingredients for a stellar parade entry are there. Regardless of whether this vision comes to fruition, I heart the parade as truly as I heart SCV and hope to see you there.
This column is intended as satire and a (sometimes successful) attempt at humor.
Suggestions, catty comments and veiled threats intended for the author
can be e-mailed to iheartscv@insidescv.com.
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