Better And Better

If you don't draw yours, I won't draw mine. A police officer, working in the small town that he lives in, focusing on family and shooting and coffee, and occasionally putting some people in jail.

Monday, September 20, 2021

In celebration of the life of my hero.

My father, Johnny P. G., died after a short illness on August 20, 2021. He was 78.

Forty years a cop, my father was a classically-educated man, with a degree in History from Texas Christian University (1972). He had always loved aviation, and had been a member of the Civil Air Patrol in high school in El Paso, and liked to fly in small aircraft with friends, though for some odd reason he never finished getting his pilot's license. When he began as a college student with TCU, he joined the Air Force ROTC, and planned to go to Viet Nam. Shortly before his senior year, he was examined and found to have sustained a broken neck in a car crash when he was 18. The Air Force medicaly discharged him, and the Marines and Army likewise refused him for service. Ironically, though he suffered severe scoliosis throughout he last three decades, his neck never really gave him much trouble. 

Johnny worked in high school as an ambulance attendant, and through college as a surgical technician. He planned to go PreMed, but organic chemistry stymied him, and he gave it up. He dropped out of college for a couple of years, and joined the Tarrant County (Texas) Sheriff's Department. Impressed that their new deputy could type, they put Dad into Communications, and he soon was a sergeant of dispatch, which wasn't what he particularly cared to do. Dad joined Benbrook Police Department in 1969, where he was a patrol officer as he finished his last year of college at TCU at my mother's insistance. 

In 1972, holding his bachelors degree from a decent university (a rarity among patrol officers of that time), Johnny applied for a job with the Denton County (Texas) District Attorney's Office as an investigator. At the time, among the 254 Texas counties, he was the third state licensed DA's investigator. Those were different times, and often DA's investigators found themselves helping out small rural town's P.D.s with cases, and occasionally Dad found himself serving felony warrants and kicking doors on raids. He also worked some capital murder trials, occasionally leaving home while on change of venues. 

On one case in particular, Dad and the entire prosecution team were threatened, along with their families, in open court by members of the Bandidos crime syndicate. 

During the 1980s, Dad investigated corruption by the sitting sheriff of the county, resulting in charges. 

He never once had his phone number or address unlisted from the telephone directory, his entire life. 

Dad was a stoic. He was notorious for refusing to report his discomfort. It would have been nice if he had gotten corrective surgery in the late 1980s or early 1990s, when his spine first started to squirm massively from the centerline. When he passed away last week, he was at least four inches shorter than his 6'6" height from college. At 6'5" (maybe now down to 6'4", I towered over him the last 20 years.). 

Dad went on to become an investigator for the Sheriff's Office, and became a sergeant of Special Investigations (read: Internal Affairs), and later Lieutenant. He retired on the last day of 2004. 

He was a scholar of firearms, and I will never know half of what he knew, nor a quarter of what he had forgotten. 

"Honor is everything," was a motto of Johnny's. Ethics mattered in every thing he did. 

SE Colorado, by Matt G 2019    

Johnny teaching Matt G to run a Thompson, circa 1979. 

Johnny pinning Matt G's badge. 

Johnny slinging up Ching Sling on Savage Scout, ca. 2001. Photo by Matt G.    

Johnny at the range, circa 2008 with Matt G.     

Johnny on his 40th birthday with son David, 5/12/1983. 

Johnny as a freshman in college at TCU. 

Johnny shooting at distant reactive targets with revolver, circa 2014, SE Colorado.     

Johnny dove hunting with his dog Ben, circa 2009. Photo by Matt G.

Johnny holding son Matt G, late 1971. 

Johnny having a cigar while visiting with friend John Shirley, ca. 2010. 

Johnny and son, ca. 2007. He was reserving. 

Johnny and Matt G at 100 yard range, SE Colorado. Photo by Tamara Keel. 

Johnny shooting Shield EZ given him by son Matt G, 2019. Photo by Matt G. 

Johnny with enormous boar shot in 2006. Photo by Ashley Emerson. 

Johnny with toy rifle, ca. 1946. 

Johnny in front of the courthouse which he started as a DA's investigator. Photo by Ed Steele, 2014.     

Johnny, photo by Ed Steele, 2014. 

Johnny getting his pho on at Viet Bites. Photo by Matt G, 2019. 

Johnny on a stormy evening, photo by Matt G, ca. 2015.     

Johnny at NTSA range, photo by Matt G, 2016. 

Johnny, the elder scholar. Photo by Tamara Keel, 2018.

Johnny firing 1928 Thompson. Photo by Tamara Keel, 2018. 

Johnny in SE Colorado. Photo by Tamara Keel, ca. 2016. 

Johnny near Westminster Abbey in London, 1989.     


Wednesday, January 06, 2021

The Current State Of Our Union.

 Oh, did you think that I had forgotten about you all? 

As I stated back in the summertime-- we will get through this. But darker times are not completely over. 

Our nation is evenly split. We have People Who Want Their Team To Win No Matter What. We have People Who Are Gleefully Showing Shocked Outrage At The Other Team. We have People Who Have Checked Out. 

Our President will believe what is reported in his favor. He will strike out at anyone who reports something not in his favor, regardless of the veracity. He and his supporters have repeated the claims so much, it would be like denying faith to examine the claims with any eye toward critical thought, now. 

People, long convinced that their votes were dismissed by a tampered-with election, are acting out against the government which they feel has let them down. They believe that the government is enabling the  a fraudulently-elevated Biden to be President. They believe that this is life or death, and they have to act. 

They have stormed the Capitol. They broke things and hurt people. This is a riot. 

They were urged to show up by  President Trump. Today was the day on which Congress was to certify the electoral college vote. Somehow, interrupting that count was going to bring some power back to them.

It did not. 

What happened is that the pendulum swung a bit harder, separating and dividing us further. 

For days, our President has been issuing pardons. For the last couple of days, the discussion has turned toward a phone call which he made to the Secretary Of State in Georgia, whom our President urged to "do a favor," and "find some more votes.  Now, the discussion has turned to the issue of our nation's President issuing himself a preemptive pardon. This is ridiculous, because if  he can do this, he may act unlawfully with impunity. 

We have seen 62 courts throw out challenges to the elections, made by Trump's supporters, usually due to lack of evidence. Some of the judges were Republican appointees. Some even Trump appointees. No court yet tried has found sufficient evidence to intervene in the state elections for President. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel (R, KY) has called for a cease to the objections to the vote, by the Senate: "I've served 36 years in the Senate. This will be the most important vote I've ever cast," McConnell said. "The voters, the courts and the states have all spoken. They've all spoken. If we overrule them, it will damage our republic forever."
 Former President George W. Bush has made the call for the riotous demonstration to end.  Numerous Republicans who had pledged to vote to oppose the election results have reversed themselves, and are choosing not to raise objections to the vote. Lindsay Graham, long a Trump supporter, gave an impassioned speech in which he remarked that only Donald Trump could get him to stand with Rand Paul on such an issue.  Senator Paul declared that today's riot was "chaos and anarchy that needs to be stopped.

It has been reported that the President's Cabinet has current members who are discussing the possibility of invoking the 25th Amendment. 

Now, you can say, "Matt, you've just provided links to MainStream Media. And they lie." Oh, I believe that MSM has biases, and gets some things wrong. But unlike your favorite blog or buddy on social media, or you, they actually have a stake in verifying what they say before they say it. We know that our President has lied.  We know that a swarm of competing news organizations have shown these facts.  Given a choice between our President's specious claims, and numerous professional news sources, I'll go with the news sources. I'll be right more often, if still occasionally wrong. 

If you tell me that you would have been up at the Capitol, storming the building, to interrupt the Constitutionally-mandated count today--- I will tell you that I don't respect that. 
And that I would have wanted to be up at the Capitol, stopping your unlawful interference. 

Shall we go on together, as a nation, now, and lick our wounds, and try to heal? 

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Monday, July 27, 2020

The way things are.

How are things? The general consensus is: "Not great."

A quarter of the nation is unemployed, thanks to a novel virus causing international lockdowns for social distancing.

Large cities are powderkegs of "protesters" and police clashing.

Cultural wars are in full swing. We have strong evidence (hell, let's just say "confirmation") of outside influence by international online arsonists who are fomenting hate and discontent on social media.

The President says that he does not trust:
The news media.
Scientists and doctors.
Our nation's intelligence services.
Our nation's criminal justice system.

The Left is cast as being full-bore socialists who want to tear down free enterprise, and get rid of the police.
The Right is being portrayed as racist, war-mongering, radical conservative, gun-obsessed zealots who care nothing for the nation's environment.

Police are being portrayed as focused on killing or at least hurting people of color whenever they can get away with it, who totally would get away with it, if The Left let down their guard.

Every use of force by police is now suspect to the public eye, if there is not a long history of the actor being a dangerous criminal, and there is not beautiful video of the event, depicting the recipient of police force committing indisputably heinous crimes (i.e., not just against police) when the police step in and expertly execute maneuver which stops the crime.

Police are assumed to be part of an inherently racially unjust system.

Because of this, people have taken to the streets in demonstrations which have repeatedly become riots. People will en masse block highways, blocking other people, to "raise awareness" of their issue. (This, to me, is akin to punching out a random old woman to raise awareness about breast cancer.)

People are stressed.

Listen to me: 


We as police will adjust some of the things we can, and the public will have to understand what we cannot adjust.

A vaccine is coming, and the greatest nation on the planet will get back to work again.

The current dumbass President will leave office, and another dumbass President will assume the role.

Do not get worked up over what someone says over the Internet-- chances are, they're just some Russian 'bot trying to goad you into a position of rage, to contribute to our chaos.

I and my brothers and sisters in blue will continue to try. And dammit, we'll try to do better. We have to.

I am sorry for our collective Troubles, and I will take a drink when they are past. For now, the liquor cabinet remains shut, because we have work to do.

If you can, try to be understanding of that idiot neighbor of yours, and do something kind.
If you can, let that comment box with the flashing cursor in it go unfilled with furious text.
If you can, send a little olive branch to that person that you used to think well of, before finding that they were just a little over on the Other Side on some divisive issue or another.

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Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Live video.

Thirteen years ago, Ambulance Driver and I, along with BabsRN, did a little compilation post, called "Perspectives.". Ambulance Driver, ever the consummate performer, now wants to read it aloud, and I've agreed to do it with you. Babs has declined to read, but Jennifer has agreed to read Babs' part aloud. We're doing this on the Facebook Live platform tomorrow morning at 09:00 Central. (GMT -5) If you know Ambulance Driver's real name and know how to find him on Facebook, this is really easy. If you don't, then I don't know what to do for you. After 13.5 years, I'm probably pulling back the curtain a little. We'll see. I think that AD started this as a little treat for people staying at home.

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Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Cults and Music

I never did care for anything resembling a cult of any kind. Religion, philosophy, mechanics.
But it’s the cult of personality which probably rustles my jimmies the most. This was my biggest (not only) complaint about our last President, Obama, and it’s my biggest (not only) complaint against our current President, Trump. 

Best friend Scott and I saw Living Color perform this song at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas in October of 1989. We were seniors in high school. They were opening for the Rolling Stones. (At the time, we thought that if we didn’t seize the chance to see them perform, we would never get an opportunity again. It never would have occurred to us that, 30 years later, the Stones still perform on tour.)  

Brass Against The Machine does a solid cover, with featured guest vocalist Mazz Swift shredding the solo on an electric violin. 

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Thursday, April 11, 2019

You matter

Back in college, I got a job as a fry cook at an ice cream place that sold burgers. It was very poorly paid (college town), and the managers were underpaid and arguably mentally ill. I had to wear a bow tie while flipping burgers over a hot grill.
One day, the shift manager yelled at me from the back desk, and said something hateful for the umpteenth time during a busy shift. We were short-handed. There was a line of customers. This was when she had decided to do paperwork, and she was cussing me.
I took off my foam-and-net screen-print uniform baseball hat, ripped off my clip-on bowtie and my apron, and put both into my hat, and put the hat on the counter, with every intent of walking out.
I glanced past the food prep area at the large group of people waiting for their food.
No one was going to get them their lunch if I didn’t. It wasn’t their fault. Most of them had already paid, and those who hadn’t, had already invested part of their lunch hour in coming there.

I put the apron and cap back on, washed my hands, and got their orders out.
But I didn’t put that fucking bowtie back on.

You finish what you started. People COUNT on you, who don’t deserve punishment.

Friday, October 19, 2018


There's nothing like reviewing a body camera, and a car camera, of footage of your use of force, to make you second-guess yourself.

I have had more than a few talks with another officer on scene about what we did, and what we maybe "should have done."

So tonight, when I watched the movie Sully on my computer, I was struck by the way we second-guess ourselves in life-or-death situations. This movie was about an airplane captain who saved 155 lives by making an emergency landing on the Hudson River, and how he then had to rehash the event over and over.

I thought about how my young subordinate officer had kicked himself for not having taken the shot on a man who had threatened him (and me) with a gun. I thought about how I may have made a mistake, also failing to shoot the armed man when he pointed his pistol at me.

I thought about how other officers, from other agencies, have told me that we had screwed up. How we had "been lucky." How we should have shot the guy.

And, watching the movie, seeing the depiction of Captain Sullenberger being second-guessed, I broke down crying.

I am so proud of my officer. I don't want to work with a man who doesn't second-guess himself on issues this important. My officer didn't shoot for all the right reasons. And it turned out fine.

I'm just so damned proud of him.

We did our jobs.

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Work. Small Town Policing.

I haven't posted a lot, lately. I will admit to having been a bit busy.

While our PD is down a man, I've had to step up and work patrol as a shift supervisor, instead of doing my investigator gig.

Throughout the month of September and the beginning of October, I've been hit with pretty major Index Crimes. Small towns still have them, though not as much as bigger towns. Here's the problem: because we don't investigate them as often as the bigger cities, we're not as experienced at the investigations thereof. The good news is, that barring other cases landing at the same time, we have more time to focus on them.

In this case, we (A) lucked out, and (B) knocked it out of the park.

At the beginning of September, I had come in to the office on my day off (I find that I do that a lot, lately), and tended to some paperwork. I wore a polo with a badge and gun and ID displayed, and had on some decent cargo pants and athletic shoes on. On my way home, I made a traffic stop, and towed the vehicle. Toward the end of the stop, the on-duty patrolman was dispatched to a disturbance. Over the radio, he reported that it was actually a serial burglary in progress. I responded from my traffic stop, in time to meet a couple who exited their house, having fought with the burglar-turned-home-invader. They directed me in the direction the man had fled. I got lucky, and found him in a back yard, and coaxed him at carbine-point to lie on the ground. When my cover officer arrived and tried to cuff him, the burglar attacked him physically. Long gun in hand, I used appropriate force to prevent the man from getting to my officer's gun, or escape. The burglar was taken into custody with a pretty good bruise to his backside, and a couple of taser barb marks in his back. I worked the case.

Two weeks later, I was on duty, and responded to a disturbance. When I knocked on the door at the disturbance, the resident briefly pointed a gun at me, and later at the responding officer who covered me. He fired a round in the air. I set up a perimeter, and we eventually took him into custody. I got a warrant and we got the gun.

Last week, we had a commercial armed robbery. I was off that week, but I came in. My chief and I checked a neighborhood outside of our town, and located the suspect vehicle. I got a warrant for it, and canvased the neighborhood, and we met the robber that evening. I took the robber's confession, and we recovered the gun used.

Our cases are rock-solid, and we're going to get good convictions on all of them.

Now I'm back on duty after a week "off."

And I'm nearly done with the paperwork.

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