“May have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one.”

"This report is maybe 12-years-old. Parliament buried it, and it stayed buried till River dug it up. This is what they feared she knew. And they were right to fear because there's a whole universe of folk who are gonna know it, too. They're gonna see it. Somebody has to speak for these people. You all got on this boat for different reasons, but you all come to the same place. So now I'm asking more of you than I have before. Maybe all. Sure as I know anything I know this, they will try again. Maybe on another world, maybe on this very ground swept clean. A year from now, 10, they'll swing back to the belief that they can make people . . . better. And I do not hold to that. So no more running. I aim to misbehave." ~ Captain Malcom Reynolds

Monday, December 15, 2014

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Annoying Irony

I find it bothersome that so many voices (on all sides of the political spectrum) who are ranting about how police need to quit acting as if everyone of certain races/beliefs/outlooks are "bad guys" are the same people who are shouting out that "all cops are fascists/racist/corrupt/abusive/whatever".

Wasn't there a guy who said something about judging people?

Past History is not a Justification

For all those out there examining police use of force incidents, and upon finding out that the suspect in question had a long and/or violent history - then saying "See, this proves the cops were in the right!" Stop. Just stop it. You're not helping.

In fact, you're wrong.

A lawful use of force incident is judged by the totality of the circumstances the officer knew (or should have known) at the time of the event - nothing more, nothing less. It means what is going on right then, and what is imminently foreseeable must be used to make those decisions. And, it does NOT mean that the past history of either the suspect or the officer are the key deciding factors (though both may be elements). The same holds true of non-law enforcement encounters - the facts of the moment are what matter, and what an individual must choose to act or not on.

Now yes, if the officer knows that a suspect has a history of violence that certainly may become an element in how things are addressed - but it doesn't grant a carte blanche permission to up the ante. Everything is dependent upon the actions and choices of that particular moment, and will be judged as such.

I've dealt with several arrests of people with long histories and statements of "I'll never go back to jail!" who ended up surrendering peacefully into custody when the time came. I've also had situations where someone with no violent tendencies flipped out at the wrong moment and the resulting situation turned messy.

And the same happens every single day across the nation. Think about the recent arrest of a suspected cop killer in Pennsylvania - they didn't gun him down, or abuse him - they took him into custody in a safe manner and he gets a day in court. Similarly, even suspected child molesters, terrorists, and other heinous people are given the opportunity when possible to surrender as opposed to an immediate leap to violent action. That's part of why we stress use of force training and judgement to officers throughout their career - to give them a solid basis to make these good decisions.

Now I'm not saying a person's past isn't a relevant factor - but it is more so in the lines of how they choose to face such situations. It is in the decisions they make and the actions they do or don't take when encountering police. This is where the violent tendencies, disregard for authority and other elements come into play - but it is on the offender's side, not the officers.

So please quit trying to solve the issue by using factors that aren't appropriate. It's over-simplifying an event which is anything but.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Drug thoughts

Nothing stunning or amazing. But helped the narcotics unit and the road guys out with a stop the other day, which resulted in a guy getting arrested. And it made me wonder how many people would do drugs if they realized that probably 90% of the time they spent part of their travels in someone's crotch or butt crack?

Friday, December 5, 2014

The Importance of Debate and Accepting Other Views

Over the past week there has been a growing, vocal debate as people take their respective sides of the current issue. Some would label it conservatives or traditionalists vs. liberal or modern outlooks. Others might go with old vs. young. Or whatever particular ideology seems to fit the viewer and narrative.

In either case, we pour over the video clips to support our position - picking out this sound bite or that still frame and debating how it supports the "right" view. Or running through the whole thing and arguing over what it means, how it is either a reflection of what we used to follow, or a radical departure from the original path.

And it seems like there's no middle ground - you're either on one side or the other. Any disagreement just leads to raised voices and more strident arguments. The voices of those originally involved are silent as online and real-world commentary continue to pour over the topic, without a reasonable end in sight. Even my own house hasn't been immune from little comments here and there, or a shared link mocking a different view.

Yes, it's really hard to believe all the stink a ninety second film trailer can cause...

Wednesday, December 3, 2014


Having a callout for recovered military ordnance, and finding out you might be dealing with a live World War One chemical round has a way of focusing the events in your day...

Fortunately it was simply an explosive charge.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

A companion link

Some other thoughts on the subject of military service and hero worship. Worth a read.

Cultural Competence and the Growing Split

There is a short but good article here on the challenges faced by non-military mental health providers in dealing with military patients. This certainly reflects things I've found in my own experience.

But it also reflects a change in our society as a whole. One that I think will lead to many other problems as time goes by.

There is a growing rift between the military and veterans and the rest of American society.

I don't mean this in terms of beliefs, or politics, or social mores (though all of those are certainly a factor). I mean simply in terms of common ground and the ability to relate, empathize and interact.

Without doing more research than I'm inclined to, I'll only take my observations back to the World War II generation - though my gut and history classes would lead me to think you could certainly take it further. When discussing the "Greatest Generation" it was not at all uncommon for a family to have one or more members who had served in the military in some fashion; and if they hadn't than there was certainly a neighbor or friend in the community who had. Which leads to shared experiences and common ground. To kids hearing war stories from a favorite uncle, young men asking for advice before embarking on their own journeys, or business transactions lubricated through veteran's conversations. It led to politicians, whether local or national, who had served in the uniform of the troops they were then going to order into harm's way. In short, "veterans" were a part of the communities they lived in, rather than something unusual. And, whether for a tour or a career, military service was seen as something to be proud of (and as a SERVICE) rather than something to hide.

Vietnam, the end of the draft, and the transition to a volunteer military force started to change that. An unpopular war, a shift in national outlook and other factors led to soldiers being viewed as "different" somehow. Whether labeled as misfits, killers, or rejects who weren't "smart enough" for the regular world, those who entered the military were no longer seen as serving the nation as a whole, but as tools of some nebulous political/industrial complex, as proxies for profit rather than protectors of the oppressed.

Fast forward to the modern age. The military, while still all-volunteer has become a truly separate entity in most people's lives. Fewer than 1% of the population are veterans these days, and even the Pentagon states that 70% of modern American youth would be ineligible for military service due to health, education, or criminal convictions. The political class? Completely disconnected - the barest fraction of our representatives have any military service, much less in time of war. And we have thus entered the era where to be a veteran is a strange thing, where the men and women who go into harm's way for our nation are seen as being an "unusual" group, and where our medical system needs special training in order to even relate to them as a whole.

Some of you may be disputing this - "My friends and I are all veterans," "There are plenty of people in my family/town/job who served," and the like. But these are clusters (I know, because I'm in one of them). Certain professions, rural communities, and yes, even family traditions are represented more heavily amongst veterans than others. In some cases this is because a tradition of service remains, in others it is due to an affinity between career paths. But, I challenge you to go to a major city and conduct the same survey - you'll find the percentages reflect what I am discussing.

This is sad and this is dangerous. It is sad because we have a complete disconnect - the men and women who are sacrificing their years, their bodies and their lives for a nation come home to a place which they no longer relate to. And the communities which receive them are challenged to interact with a group they cannot understand. The politicians spend the lives of these troops, they cut back on equipment, training and benefits for the people who protect our nation, all without the slightest concept of who these service members are.

And it is dangerous, because a military which sees itself as separate from the people, as unappreciated or unwanted, is a military capable of acts against the society they are meant to preserve. Capable of being exploited by generals or politicians or internal drives to "make things right." Which also goes against the very foundations of our nation, and holds the potential for vast abuse.

Do I have the perfect solution? Of course not. But Heinlein's thoughts on service connected to citizenship certainly provide an option.

Either way we owe it to our warriors and to ourselves to find the common ground again, to bring these men and women home and let them truly feel at home. To understand the concept of sacrifice for a greater good, and a chance at peace when it is done.


Centurions were the guardians of Rome. At the height of the Roman Republic there were over five thousand qualified Roman Centurions in the Legions. To be a Centurion required that, in a mostly illiterate society, one be able to read and write clearly, to be able to convey and create orders, to be capable of not only performing every skill of a Roman soldier but teach every skill of a Roman soldier.

Becoming a Centurion required intense physical ability, courage beyond the norm, years of sacrifice and a total devotion to the philosophy which was Rome.

When Rome fell to barbarian invaders, there were less than five hundred qualified Centurions. Not because Rome had fewer people but because it had fewer willing to make the sacrifices. And the last Centurions left their shields in the heather and took a barbarian bride…

- John Ringo

Monday, November 24, 2014

House Rules

I watch very very little network television, due to a dislike of the medium. However, once in a while I do get caught up watching a show that my wife enjoys.

We also have a standing house rule that during movies or TV shows I'm NOT allowed to comment on bomb techniques, tactical procedures, or the like - because according to my wife at times the "suspension of belief" element seems to elude me.

Which explains why I got "That Look" tonight during a show when I started talking to the bad guy on screen saying "Oh yes, I DREAM of someone doing that, please gift wrap solving your little bomb problem for me!"

Yes, there are issues in my head....

Music Monday

I always thought you could weave a heck of a novel out of these two songs:

Unfortunately these days I fear it would have too many modern parallels.