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, 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 WILL GET THROUGH THIS.  

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. 

https://youtu.be/WwsevGDRNAc 


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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

Second-guessing.

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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Saturday, September 29, 2018

"Look a how mean/distasteful/condescending/dumb/Other-Side he looks!"

You can generally tell a hit piece, lately, by the photo which accompanies it.
As a junior baby wannabe amateur photographer, I will tell you that I delete the portraits that I take which make my subject look bad. If I'm taking a candid shot of an event, I only keep the unflattering ones if the subject is doing something which I don't have another shot of, and the real subject is the action.
Photographers covering a newsworthy event with talking heads take a LOT of pictures of those talking heads. While it is not unethical for a news photographer to publish an untouched photograph of what happened, it causes me to wonder about their objective journalism, when they ONLY publish photos of the subject with his or her face in an unpleasant expression.
We ALL can get caught momentarily with our face in such expressions.
Oh, and don't try to make out that it's only The Other Team that does this. Your team is just as bad about it.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2018

It was just a day in September.

I had worked all night, and come home to find that my wife had the day off, for some reason. She took our daughter to daycare down the block, and we chatted. We had been married for about three and a half years, and were comfortable and familiar, but still, this was a nice day when she was home. I stayed up and might have even had a late cup of coffee, well into the mid morning. It was nice.
We stepped out onto the front porch of the apartment, noticing the less-hot, but still sticky air. Our apartment manager Mac, from next door, told us that he reckoned that we had heard the news. Strangely, I hadn't. I normally would have killed an hour on the internet on my desktop computer (internet on cell phones was in its infancy, and anyway, we didn't have a cell phone), or listening to the radio, but this morning, because my wife was home, I had just enjoyed her company.

So I turned on the television, and we saw the news, and the re-recitation of it for about 3 iterations of the cycle. And the phone rang, and it was my best friend, who told me that we HAD to nuke the Muslims who did this.

I really don't remember what my wife did or said, the rest of the day.

I got to bed at around 1:30 or 2:00 that afternoon (5 hours late), slept poorly, and got up around 7:00pm to hear our President declare that they had identified the group that had attacked our country, and that we would go after them.  I then got ready and showed up early for work for another midnight shift.

17 years later, it suddenly occurs to me that one of the many, MANY casualties of that attack was my lovely day with my wife.

It's nothing, I know. But we didn't have a lot of weekday mornings together, then or now.

I feel ashamed for even thinking about it. People lost their lives, and their families. We lost a little part of our country.

Tell your loved ones how you feel about them. You don't have very many chances to do so. You might even lose the next chance that you think that you'll have.

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