Friday, November 7, 2008

Locking loads

Cargo security experts estimate that between $20 billion and $30 billion of commercial goods are stolen annually from big trucks.

Of course we don’t know an exact figure.

Because retailers aren’t interested in pointing to the value of their highest-priced loads, and due to the relative ease by which some thieves take trailers and occasionally $40 million in pharmaceuticals, we may never know how much truck cargo is stolen annually.

(In my best promotional voice) Check your mailbox this week for the November edition of Land Line Magazine, and a story titled “Grand theft cargo,” where the magazine focuses on theft from commercial trucks.

I was able to ride along with TOMCATS, a Miami-Dade Police Department unit dedicated to stopping cargo theft. Their unit was fun to watch work. They deal with some dangerous individuals who mostly are a step away from hijacking trucks, and are only a notch or two below the mafia in terms of organization.

Click here to read about one insurance company’s answer for cargo theft – a trailer designed to run sting operations on potential thieves.

The Chubb Group of Insurance Companies recently put out a news release saying that consumer electronics, food and clothing are the three most stolen cargoes. Their statistical study shows that truck stops and rest areas are the locations most targeted by truckload thieves, although motel and restaurant parking lots also are top targets.

As mentioned in the article, cargo theft isn’t going away. If it escalates the way it has in Europe, it could result in more armed hijackings and violence that truckers have to deal with.

Monday, November 3, 2008

House divided

People feel so passionately about this presidential election;I hope that after it’s over, we can reunite behind one administration. I say this with the most personal of experience. Right now, I am living in one of those homes divided by political allegiances.

I hope that after the election, my husband and I can get back to being married people instead of complete and total foes. How the heck do Mary Matalin and James Carville stay together? Arnold and Maria always seem to get along, too. How do they do that?

Part of it is the situation the nation is in right now. There’s a lot to fret about. This ain’t no popularity contest. This is serious. My husband and I both are most worried about the economy. We need revived. My husband is so devoted to his candidate that he can’t see a rise from the ashes if this person is not elected. I sorta feel the same.

I don’t feel my husband has thoroughly analyzed the issues, and I think he’s listening to propaganda and believing every word. He doesn’t think I have the big picture at all.

He thinks I have “drunk the Kool-Aid.” I think he is making a dangerously uninformed vote.

We have two TVs, and I watch the news for every bit of info I can get. He watches bull riding and NASCAR because he does not need info. He’s made up his mind and does not want to be confused by any late-emerging facts.

The campaign ads are aggravating to both of us. He believes his candidate would not approve misconstrued facts or quotes taken out of context. I think he’s naive. He thinks I am cynical.

The closer it gets to Election Day, the more worried I am about the great divide that has occurred between us. Plus, I am pretty sure that he is going to let the air out of my tires or some such shenanigan so I can’t get to the polls to cast my vote.

I wonder how it will be after the election. Can we get back to being friends? We have some really important stuff to do together. Like landscaping. If we can’t get along, we’ll never get those yard projects done. And picking new furniture? What a mess. And choosing the right path that will keep us solvent and bills paid? That big remodel project? We need to agree or we’ll go to hell.

Will our nation be like that, too? Would Americans that feel so passionately about Sen. McCain be able to handle Sen. Obama as our nation’s leader? Would Obama supporters handle a McCain victory? Will we be a nation of parties not speaking to each other?

That can’t be. We have to go into this election with it in our heads that no matter what, we come out on the other side united. We’ve got some critical remodeling to do.