“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

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Sometimes dumb just ain't enough.....

For the gods first mock those who do not snark... or something like that.

Yep - payback for my whole "up on a soapbox lecture everyone on what to do" yesterday was another verse, more annoying than the first...

I seriously tried to give this guy EVERY chance to avoid taking a ride last night. Really.

Told to go inside and sleep it off instead of getting busted for acting up in the yard & street.

Even given a ride to a friend's house to sleep it off.

VERY clearly explaining the break that he was getting, that I just wasn't in the mood for a little public intoxication arrest - just go inside and be quiet and call it a night.

Instead... who do I run into passed out in the driver's seat a short time later, because he just HAD to have his truck that night...

Seriously... I don't know how the race survives with this kind of instinct.

The guy took a simple "go inside" and turned it into a full-blown DUI, all because he wanted to be stubborn...

Ah well, at least I have job security.

Saturday, August 30, 2008


"Great. Now you've ruined my life. I hope you're proud of yourself."


You people honestly don't know how many times I've heard this. The variants show up on all sorts of arrests, but by far the winner is on DUI's - by a margin of 10 to 1 at least, this is the refrain you get when you tell someone those words as you put the cuffs on.

I've ruined their life.

I've cost them their job, their kids, their home.

I'm the one who made them pay the legal fees, the insurance rates, and the lawyer's bill when it's all said and done.

Can you tell I'm tired of this one? Because I had to play that same song yet again tonight - another person who had no business driving. Hell, he TOLD me he had no business driving, was only doing it to take this girl home and be a nice guy... But because I'm out their doing my job & I catch him, and I take him to jail then I've got some personal vendetta to ruin his life and I should be ashamed of myself.

Folks - I'm not a hypocrite. I enjoy my good beer as my wife and anyone else will tell you - and 90% of the time these days it's at home... Because I've figured out I'd rather drink alone and not be social than risk the chance of having "just one more" and making a bad choice.

I'm even honest enough to admit that in my younger, stupider days there were times I probably shouldn't have driven home either. I can say I was blessed or lucky enough I never hurt or killed anyone before I learned better.

And after a few years on this job, I'm tired of it. The accidents. The innocent people hurt or killed. Hell just the people inconvenienced because some drunk smashes into their car. The rampant stupidity of it all.

When you pull a child the same age as your own firstborn out from under the dash of a car; you're hopeful because she's still alive and you pray for every bit of help you can get to keep her hanging on to the hospital... only to be told when you follow up later with the doctor that the child would have been better off dying then the way it will be forced to live a few short years (Spare me your moral judgments on this one - their are times it's cruel to force life to stay) - it changes your perspective. Especially when you see her mother, so drunk she can't walk, get away with barely a scratch because she didn't want to sleep on a friend's couch that night.

I don't make you go out and drink.

I don't put the car keys in your hand.

I don't tell you it's ok to drive home, that once again you're going to beat the odds.

You made those decisions on your own.

And when I catch you doing it, and I take you to jail, I'm not going to feel the least bit guilty about doing my job.

I'm going to be glad I did it before someone else paid for your stupidity.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


OK seriously, I tried to stay away from the politics, I really did.

But for fricken fracken everything else...

if CNN and the media dry-hump the DNC convention anymore in their coverage I think I will spew all over my keyboard.

I swear, it will go into Wikipedia as the definition of "fanboy masturbation" forever.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Pan-seared tenderloin with a chipotle-lime butter

King crab, boiled in beer with just a hint of Old Bay

Fresh corn on the cob

Potatoes au gratin

A loaf of whole-grain French bread

My tummy for the win.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Back home

As readers of the wife's blog have surmised yes we are back home...

No real posting from me yet, still trying to mentally "not be here" and don't do cop stuff again for another day TYVM.

The vacation was good - spent two days of it immobile BUT on a good note, the doc I saw gave a new direction on the arthritis stuff that I get to go slap my primary care with the cluebat of obviousness for.... so that ended well.

Got a lot of time with my wonderful children, letting my wife have (somewhat) of a break - and everytime it happens I am reminded how much work two kids is, and how incredible it is she keeps up with them both and still keeps track of my idiocy.

Even got some time with her which was nice - so thanks to Donia and Maia for watching the kids here & there!

Anyway, posts and life to resume soon but this browncoat is still enjoying the stars for a bit more...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Quote of the day

from the Pirate...

Bill Clinton is getting $12 million for his memoirs.
Hillary got $8 million for hers.
That’s $20 million for the memories from two people, who for eight years, repeatedly testified, under oath, that they couldn’t remember anything.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Vacation had to get away...

On vacation at the beach this week - I have internet access so can keep up with things, but no posting planned. Back next week with more fun.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Some new links

Two additions to the blogroll today:

Juvenile Corrections by someone who gets the joy of dealing with far more underage offenders than I ever want


Roanoke Cop from a road guy in the western part of this state.

both share some good stories - drop by & give 'em a read.

Interesting read

A discussion put in non-horribly-scientific terms on the problems with the "hockey stick graph" used as gospel by global warming proponents is here...

Worth reading and thinking about.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Not so much a contradiction

I have been asked in relation to various things how I can profess to be a browncoat as it were, and yet still work in law enforcement. Whether by Firefly fans using those terms, or simply by those wondering how I can work within the system. A number of recent news and other events has brought this to my mind & this post was percolating as I cooked dinner tonight.

Stories like ColtCCO's battle with a Tennessee agency to have his sidearm returned to him... Or that of this Maryland gunowner facing a completely illegal and inappropriate police raid and questioning for the crime of buying ammo for a gun "they" don't know about... or the recent SWAT raid based on bad drug intel where they shot the mayor's dogs in front of his family...

Stuff like this has numerous people angered, including me - at the increasing police-state mentality of many locations, and of the militarization of many agencies... Of how law enforcement is being employed to target gun owners, political foes and those with unpopular agendas.

The sad truth is, many of these acts are not particularly uncommon these days. Partly it is a change in our cultural outlooks, too many movies and TV shows influencing our lawmakers, police officers, judges and citizens in terms of what we can expect and allow of our agencies. It is also a case of the gradually eroding belief in the Constitution and Bill of Rights, individual liberties and self-determination in sacrifice to the altar of "the good of society".

So - how can I work within this very system? Well, a number of reasons lead me to believe that this is not only a good choice for me, but continues to be a calling of honor and service to society.

While my wife (and others) would certainly call a lot of my outlooks politically and socially "conservative", the one key belief I hold and always have is that of individual freedoms and freedom of choice. Not so liberal as that of the "as it harm none, do as you will" creed of the Wiccans - but I definitely believe that as the framers of the Constitution intended people should be free to follow their own paths and to have minimal government intrustion into their private lives. The role of government (and by extension my belief in the role of law enforcement) is to serve as a mediator and keeper of the public good when those lives interact with others. Hopefully as minimally as possible, but as our population and society grows, and the world shrinks, these interactions are more common than they were 200 years ago. So - I'm not a Republican, I'm not a Libertarian - I'm something with elements of both and my own thoughts thrown in. Which I think is actually a lot more common that any label can say.

A second part of my beliefs is that of protecting and helping others - those who cannot do so for whatever reason. Even Mal had rules on his ship, and the Independants certainly weren't calling for a society of anarchy. The fact of the matter is, humanity is at its root a predatory species. And no matter how much we have learned to cooperate and coexist as civilization has grown, as long as there are men there will be those who prey upon others. Whether from greed, envy, lust, or simple cruelty there will be those who take what is not theirs to have - property or life. And whether battling them on the individual level, as I currently do; or on a national level, as the military is called upon to do, I feel this is a cause worth fighting in order to prevent that slide into anarchy. As others have said better - there are sheep and there are wolves & society needs sheepdogs to protect the one from another.

But what of the fact that many of our agencies (and I won't deny mine at times unfortunately) have become those tools oppressing or threatening others? Have we reached the point in this country that working as a cop has now made one a brownshirt instead of a browncoat?

I feel we are at a critical point in this country and by extension in the direction this world can take. Our government and society have changed in ways never intended by the original framers, and it is up to this generation and the next to steer these changes in the direction we want.

No, America is not perfect by any stretch - but it beats the alternatives. And a republic is not the perfect form of government, but again it's the best we have at the moment.

And our role as browncoats right now I think is to learn to use this system and get things back on course.

Sure, there are plenty of those who are of the mind that the only way things are going to improve is by refreshing the "tree of liberty" - that only an armed revolution is going to protect us from the next wave of a tyranical government, be it the UN black helicopters or something closer to home. Fortunately i don't think we are at that point yet & I hope that isn't what it takes.

And on the other side there are those who feel it's not worth the effort - either things aren't that bad yet (in which case I argue your grasp of "bad"); or that it's so far gone that we can't fix it. But those jackbooted governments we all keep talking about have always counted on one thing in their takeover - the general apathy of the populace, including those that they will use to enforce their will. Be they facist, communist, or whatever other label you choose far more people throughout history have lost their rights, liberties and lives through gradual erosion than rapid events.

Instead, let's not be apathetic. Be involved. For some this is as simple as researching and voting - not the party line but actually knowing your candidates at all levels. Because that city councilman today will be running for something bigger down the road, and their past will be an indicator of their future. For me, it involves working and teaching within my agency.

Because, getting back to the point of the post, I am a police officer. I like my job. I'm good at it. And to many on all sides of the spectrum, I symbolize by my existence the oppression of "the man/the system/call it what you will". So, I can either fulfil their preconceived notions and play that role, or I can rise above that.

I know I'm not perfect by any stretch - but I do my best to do what's right. I respect the rights of others, even when I have to arrest them. I train new officers at the most crucial stage of their career, when they are first learning how much power we have trusted them with to take other's freedom and even their life if need be - to show them not only by word but by example what ain incredible responsibility this is, and how you have to live up to it each and every day.

I do the same in the other aspects of my job. In the courts - where I fortunately have judges and attorneys on both sides. who know that I will display integrity and honesty, and treat my cases accordingly. And in my agency, where I believe that I and others like me can over time return this mentality to being that of the common, instead of the uncommon.

I don't say any of that to brag about myself, but to explain how I have chosen to implement my beliefs into those of my calling and hopefully have it spread beyond just me.

Because I think we can make these changes - not overnight but over time. Like every journey, it starts with one step - and I have started mine. As opposed to accepting the status quo, I am doing my part to see that my children and others can return to a country where the police are someone who helps, not frightens. Where the government trusts the citizens. And where these ideals can freely spread to others around the world.

There is plenty more I can say on this, and it already has three or four other rants bouncing around my head that I will spare everyone from for now. But I will leave you with this, paraphrased from Gladiator:

There is a dream that was the United States of America. Let us make it real again.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Happy Birthday Brigid!

and she's written another great reflective post today.

If I could write like that just once I'd feel like I'd learned something finally.

Cover vs Concealment

Today's range note.

.308 ammunition will penetrate a railroad tie with plenty of energy to spare.

Something to keep in mind.

Opening your mouth and removing all doubt...

Honestly, I try not to call people stupid in this job. Sure, some of them (well, a lot of them) do stupid things, but I generally don't think they are stupid people...

Of course, some always prove you wrong.

The other night had to go deal with a "customer dispute" at a late-night diner. A young lady who'd had a few more than she probably needed decided that her food wasn't to her liking, and she didn't want to pay. The restaurant of course felt that they should be compensated for their meal and effort. By the time I showed up both sides were in a full-on snit.

Well, the first ten minutes were spent in a deep discussion... I really didn't want to arrest this girl for a 9 dollar breakfast, and go through the hassle... she had a ride home, she was just being stubborn. I explained very clearly, numerous times, that she needed to pay for her food & if she had an issue she needed to address it with their corporate offices. Of course, she was all talk, no listen & so I was wasting my breath. Finally we got to the point of me explaining the two options - she paid for her food, or she went to jail that night. At which point I THOUGHT common sense showed up, and she relented...

When, not thirty seconds later as I wait for this to be resolved, she looks at her companions and says "I'll just put it on my credit card and cancel it when I get home."


Seriously, I really wasn't trying to arrest her, honest.

So then I decide to give her one more chance, explaining very politely that sort of of behavior would meet the same criteria of not paying for the meal, and that I would be then placed in a position to do my job. Well, little miss smarty-pants just looks at me and says "I don't care, I'm going to do it."


Alright, fine. Here we go. Stand up, put your hands behind your back, etc etc.

Two hours of gratuitous verbal abuse later I'm done. And of course it's the full tirade - this is a race issue, I'm profiling, she knows such&such and I'll lose my job, she isn't drunk, I didn't give her a chance, and about ten others I let pass right through both ears.

I mean, seriously. All she had to do was pay the damned bill & complain - I guarantee that the head office would have sent enough her way to cover drunk breakfasts for a year. Instead, she not only got two charges out of the night, her little statements (oh recorders are SUCH a wonderful tool) pretty much take it right out of the "didn't mean it" category and straight into the defense attorney nightmare of damage control.

This is one of those where I live for the discovery motion, where I get to share all their statements... because you just know that about thirty seconds later it turns from "Let's fight this." to "OK you need to plea to this, because the last thing you want is the officer testifying."

So... long way of getting to an end point... but yes, I do swear, some people absolutely fulfill Mr. Twain's statement with their every breath....

Monday, August 11, 2008


Is it wrong of me to get all a-twitterfied when a blog big name like Tam drops by and leaves a comment on one of my posts?

Holy cow - I can't even swim in water that deep, much less hang out in the same circles!

Thanks for the comment!

*** According to my wife my fanboy drooling was a bit much -- she gets all sorts of visitors and comments, I only get a few so I'm easily made happy! ***


a more cheerful post to follow, or at least more amusing, but something I have to write about right now.

One of the hardest parts (for me at least) of this job is maintaining objectivity in certain situations. Oh, I am fair, I give people their chances, and I try not to prejudge - but when I know you are a bad guy, that's what you are. Sure, I treat you with courtesy and respect when possible, but I know what side of the gameboard you have chosen to play & it's my job to be the opposite.

And sometimes it's hard to remember - even the bad guys have families who care, people who love them, and they weren't always so.

Had a situation this week where a young drug dealer got killed. The full details aren't known yet, but the guy was definitely dirty and in the "thug life" as they say.

So the one part of my brain says, as callous as it may be, "good riddance - he got what's coming to him."

Then today ther paper has the articles discussing his family's loss.

Sure - they sugar coat it. He was an angel, did no wrong, was going to change the world, never in trouble, etc.

But, even if I ignore all that.

At one point someone bounced him on their knee. Tucked him into bed with a story. Held him when he cried and looked with pride as he started his first day of school.

I won't pretend to know where people go wrong - to know what made this young man go down the path he did instead of another. I won't pretend to be able to say it's nature/nurture, culture, environment, this or that political party or social program.

The point is - what I had to be reminded of tonight by a news story.

Yes. There are bad people in the world. People who do wrong and hurt others. And even get hurt in return in the cesspool of the world at times. And my calling is one that involves fighting them, be it literally or figuratively in order to try and protect society as a whole.

But they're still people. Someone still is going to miss them, love them and care who they are.

And sometimes being a sheepdog means remembering even the wolves have a pack.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Fish in different water

This interesting bit of news has a bit of bitching & moaning going on in the Special Warfare community - The U.S. Coast Guard has apparently reached an agreement to allow Coasties to attend BUD/S training, become qualified as SEALs and be assigned to the Teams for a period of 5-7 years before returning to the knee-deep Navy...

More qualified people than me have argued the merits of this back and forth - but I tend to find myself on the side of the fence saying #1 - at 5-7 years the guy is just at the point of being a really good operator, and you're going to pull him out of the environment and expect him to adjust to fleet life again? Ain't gonna happen - the guys who make it that far & that long have the frogman mindset burned into them & aren't going to want to play other games; and #2 - what freaking need does the CG have for special warfare operators?

If they want to improve their shipboarding, CQB and similar skills, hire some retired Teamguys & build a training cadre - doing it this way is akin to buying the $50,000 SUV because you like the cupholders in the backseat; you're wasting a lot of time & effort for a couple of skillsets.

My personal feeling is that this stems from the mystique around special operations & that now the USCG wants to be able to claim the same; and the fact that special warfare has always been a little more generous with the checkbook for toys & training & they want part of that too.

I'll be interested to see how this one actually turns out.

Never forget no matter who you are.


Sunday, August 3, 2008

Real life

"OK, go ahead and knock." I say to the second officer in line, as the shield up front moves just a bit to the side. My perimeter team is in position in case anyone runs, and the radio is blissfully silent for the duration of the operation. The sound of his hand banging loudly on the door momentarily is louder than my own breath in my ears; for the second time this night my mind is running through the possibilities and my responses - what I'll do if the shooting starts, if the door opens to the guy we're looking for or to someone else, and also thinking about the rest of the team I've assembled to try to serve this warrant and what they will do - who I can trust to do what, who I have to keep an eye on and everything else at a hundred miles a second.

Contrary to what Hollywood and the newspapers would have you think, every time we go to a house or apartment it doesn't involve kicking in the door, SWAT guys running through the building, or some dramatic shoot out with the guy who swears he isn't going back. The vast majority are as simple as a couple of officers knocking on a door, letting someone know they are wanted, and a quiet ride to jail. Some of them fall between the two extremes - this night is one of them. A guy who has a drug and gun history, and who the night before beat someone half to death and has new charges out. Now the word from his mother is that he wants to turn himself in, but really no details other than that. As the senior guy in the area tonight, and the one with the most tactical experience, I get asked by the supervisors to take charge of our trying to pick him up. Not enough of a threat for a SWAT callout at this point, but with everything in the history I don't want to give it a chance to get ugly if I can avoid it... So I've done the best I can with officers from two shifts, putting the experienced officers where I need them and letting the junior folks take more of a support role as I hand out assignments. Everything from which apartment it is and the layout, to how we're going to the door, to what way we're driving to the hospital if one of us gets shot is layed out in five minutes on the trunk of my car and then we head up the stairs.

The door is opened seconds later by a woman and a sleepy infant - as quickly as we can we shuffle them out of the way and find out where our subject is. Weapons up we give loud commands and I'm waiting for the drama to start the whole time...

And, like the great majority of these situations, he gives up with a whimper, not a fight - being woken up by a number of loud police officers all pointing guns at you, and the red dot of a TASER bouncing on your chest first thing in the morning tends to get rid of a lot of the street talk that happens in front of your boys. Seconds later he is in cuffs on his way out the door, and I'm explaining to a child and her mother why we had to come take daddy away this morning, and trying to ease some of the fear in her young eyes.

A few minutes later I'm on my way home, still thinking through the good and the bad parts for the next time it happens, and pulling into my driveway before he's even processed at the jail.