“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

Saturday, July 31, 2010

A message worth spreading

Hadn't heard about this until recently, but I want to pass this along.

Two Iranian brothers living in exile have a band called Blurred Vision. They were given permission by Roger Waters to re-record the song "Another Brick in the Wall" addressing the Iranian government from the dissident movement.

Normally I view musical remakes with the same loathing one reserves for a mixture of feces and slug-parts on the bottom of a shoe - but not always. And certainly not in this case.

Here is the YouTube embed. The song is available on iTunes.


Spread the word. Let those with freedom speak for those who cannot.

Sic semper tyrannis

Apparently I need to get to the range...

Because I was having weird zombie dreams last night, and I couldn't make a headshot for anything.

On a positive note though, it appears cats are immune to the zombie virus.

Friday, July 30, 2010

An Air Force Funny

Don't know if it's true or not, but it certainly does match what I recall of the C130 pilots we used to hitch rides from...

Letter to Wannabe Fighter Pilot:

The following E-Mail originated from a young kid who sent it to AETC (Air Education and Training Command) wanting to know how to prepare himself for a future career as a fighter jock.

To Lt Col Van Wickler:

Sir, I am DJ Baker and I would appreciate it if you could tell me what it takes to be an F16 fighter pilot of the USAF. What classes should I take in high school to help the career I want to take later in my life?

What could I do to get in the academy?


DJ Baker


From: VanWickler Kenneth, Lt Col, HQ AETC

Anybody want to help this poor kid from Cyberspace?


A worldly and jaded C130 Pilot, Major Hunter Mills rose to the task!

Dear DJ,

Obviously, through no fault of your own, your young, impressionable brain has been poisoned by the superfluous, hyped-up, "Top Gun" media portrayal of fighter pilots. Unfortunately, this portrayal could not be further from the truth. In my experience, I've found most fighter pilots to be pompous, back-stabbing, momma's boys with inferiority complexes -- as well as being extremely over-rated aeronautically.

However, rather than dash your budding dreams of becoming an USAF pilot, I offer the following alternative: What you REALLY want to aspire to is the exiting, challenging, and rewarding world of TACTICAL AIRLIFT. And this, young DJ, means one thing -- the venerable, workhorse -- THE >C-130!

I can guarantee no fighter pilot can brag that he has led a 12-ship formation down a valley at 300 ft above the ground, while trying to interpret a 9-line to a new DZ, avoiding pop-up threats, and coordinating with AWACS -- all while eating a box lunch, with the engineer in the back taking a piss and the navigator puking in his trash can!

I tell you, DJ -- TAC Airlift is where it's at!

Where else is it legal to throw tanks, HMMWVs, and other crap out the back of an airplane, and not even worry about it when the chute doesn't open and it torpedoes the General's staff car!

No where else can you land on a 3000' dirt strip, kick a bunch of ammo and stuff off the ramp without even stopping, then take off again before range control can call to tell you did your touch and go at the wrong LZ!

And talk about exotic travel. When C-130s go somewhere, they GO somewhere -- usually for 3 months, unfortunately. This gives you the opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture enough to give any natives a bad taste in their mouths re the USAF and Americans in general -- not something those strat-lift pilots can do from their airport hotel rooms!

As far as recommendations for your course of study, I offer these:

Take a lot of math courses. You will need all the advanced math skills you can muster to enable you to calculate per diem rates around the world and when trying to split up the crew's bar tab so that the co-pilot really believes he owes 85% of the whole thing -- and the nav believes he owes the other 20%.

Health sciences are important, too. You will need a thorough knowledge of biology to make those educated guesses of how much longer you can drink beer before the tremendous case of the shits catches up to you from that meal you ate at that place that had the belly dancers in some God-forsaken foreign country whose name you can't even pronounce!

Social studies are also beneficial. It is important for a good TAC Airlifter to have the cultural knowledge to be able to ascertain the exact location of the nearest titty bar in any country in the world -- and then be able to convince the local authorities to release the loadmaster after he offends every sensibility of the local religion and culture.

A foreign language is helpful, but not required. You will never be able to pronounce the names of the NAVAIDs in France and it's much easier to ignore them and go where you want to anyway. As a rule of thumb: Waiters and bellhops in France are always called "Pierre". In Spain it's "Hey, Pedro" -- and in Italy, of course, it's "Mario." These terms of address also work in other countries interchangeably -- depending upon the level of swarth, couth and debonair of the linguist.

A study of geography is also paramount. You will need to know the basic location of all the places you've been when you get back from your TDY and are ready to stick those little pins in that huge world map you've got taped to you living room wall -- right next to that gigantic wooden giraffe statue and beer stein collection.

Well, DJ, I hope this little note inspires you -- and by the way, forget about that Academy thing. All TAC Airlifters know that there are waaay too few women and too little alcohol there to provide a well-balanced education. A nice, big state college would be a much better choice.

Good luck and see you on the SKE scope!

Major Hunter Mills

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

If we weren't all crazy...

With apologies to Mr. Buffett for the title.

Following a day playing catch-up after yesterday's work, I had just gotten home this evening when the phone rang for another call. Fortunately nothing to it at the end of things, but it added a few hours in the hot sun to a long day, plus rescheduled some other plans. On the positive side of things the patrol officers did everything right, kept their booger-hooks off stuff, and called us when things looked a bit strange - nice to know some of them are using their heads.


A post up on Texas Ghostrider this morning brought the following to mind.

For those who aren't aware, like any group police tend to have their little "sub-groups" with certain characteristics. Motor cops think about tickets, tickets, tickets. Narcs get tied up in playing the role & looking cool. Burglary investigators are just worried about case clearance stats, and can we move to the next one please. SWAT cops play their tacti-cool pose and strut. The poor road officer is overworked & unappreciated by the other cops. We joke about them, tease each other, and all that - but they do often hold true. And EOD guys are considered just a little bit crazy by all the rest.

We get our own share of teasing of course - we are not immune or better than the rest. Jokes range from "we don't do anything" or "all you guys want to do is blow stuff up." Comments about how we have all the expensive toys when no one else has money for stuff.

But we also get plenty of strange looks, and a different kind of respect than other groups (not more, just different) - to your average person or even cop, you have to be somewhat off your rocker to not only work with explosives, but to mess around other people's bombs. The fact that we walk downrange to deal with things designed to blow up just doesn't seem normal to cops, and thus they tend to treat us differently.

I've been introduced to Academy classes as "one of the guys you don't want to piss off, because he'll blow up your car or something." Watched a SWAT sergeant who has done more room entries than I can count back-peddle away from me at warp speed when I asked him to hold onto some explosives while I built a charge. Seen perfectly brave men & women look at myself and my teammates like we had two heads as we calmly discussed how to hand enter a package with a possible chemical agent. Heck, I have a Property Lieutenant who will call me personally to pick up packages that come in for my office, because he doesn't want to consider what might be inside. Like I said, to them we must be a bit nuts to even get into this job.

I can live with that... as the man said, it does keep my mail safe...

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Long ago whilst playing the same sort of games in the military we had an "unofficial" rule at work: should anything happen while on an exercise or deployment - be it diving, blowing stuff up, the range or whatever - you didn't call the parents/girlfriend/wife etc. while things were in progress. If you got hurt in minor stuff you took care of talking with them yourself, if you had series hospital stuff at least they'd wait til you were stable, and if heaven forbid it was really bad then the whole system would take over. Mind you this was before the days of cell phones, digital cameras and everything else being attached to every person in the world, instant Internet communications and all the other joys of modern technology. It wasn't in an attempt to be mean, hold back on info or any of that; more that while in the middle of dealing with a serious situation we really didn't want our minds distracted by home worrying about us or pestering for info. Yes, I know that it's not necessarily the best method, but it worked at the time.

For good or bad, it certainly doesn't work that way anymore. Not only do we have the media showing up on calls at the drop of a hat, but with the prevalence of information technology the fact we have a situation going on somewhere is pretty much common knowledge before I even get on scene. Which means that my wife is often aware from the news that I'm on a call before I even get home.

A little bit she left out though is another information source - a good friend of ours who is a dispatcher with my department. For the past couple of years it's usually just funny stuff "Sean's going to be late, he just stopped a car." or when she'll send us a message at home when I'm about to get called out for something. But, with today's call as an example, she's also been able to let my wife know when a call seems to be a bit more serious, due to the number of people out there, or if we ask for certain resources or whatever. And which also means that should something happen to me and she was working I know she would very quickly let my wife know what was up.

It's definitely a change in procedures for me to get used to - years of holding information close is instead transmitted before I ever even get done with the call. But it's also nice to know that she has something besides a half-written news blurb to let her know when I'm in the middle of stuff, and has a way to get some word of what's going on if my day turns long.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Weekend rules

Sorry for the dearth of posts - I've had the past four days off, and did my best to actually enjoy it as such, with minimal work effort (though some of course crept in) and no real stories. Relaxed with my wife & kids, had fun, slept a little, ate - all the things of normal life.

It's a nice change every now & again.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Notice from the management

#1 - I blog for my pleasure, sanity & venting. Not for money, to please others or to get into pissing matches online. Plenty of other places if that is your gig, I'm not doing it here.

#2 - Courtesy and common decency are expected in comments - and I reserve the right to delete those which have no place. Not saying no room for healthy debate, but I'm not putting up with the other crap.

#3 - If you think my blog is a place to pimp, advertise or otherwise hawk your site, service or other commercial venture you are sadly mistaken. Especially when such an industry is at odds with my career. As the latest example, that means trying to drum up business for your service in getting drunk drivers off in court is going to get very little mileage here.

Back to our irregularly scheduled programming.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Kittehs have teh priority

Fresh home from the vet the youngest of the two appears to have claimed her spot for the evening. It appears I shall be typing one-handed.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The demons

Going to try to write this without airing too much dirty laundry.

Unfortunately, we had another officer get caught up in an alcohol-related incident over the weekend. Hate to say it, but I'm not surprised given his history.

The bad part is, between current & retired officers, we are looking far from good in this area lately - a fact that the local press and various commenters have been enjoying immensely.

I happened to be working the other night when he was brought into the jail, dealing with one of my own DWI arrests. Even then you could see the realization of the hole he'd dug in his eyes. Given my presence & some other knowledge of the situation, and some of my history in the department instructing such subjects - combined with the fact that cops will gossip in a way to make a quilting bee take notes - I've been approached by a number of peers and others for various thoughts and discussions over the past few days.

One of the burdens you take up with putting on the badge is the fact that forever after you will be held to a different standard than the rest of the community. None of the drunks I've arrested this year had their pictures, names and occupations plastered in the paper or on the television, just because of their arrest. None of the fatal accidents I worked or helped with did the profession of mom or dad matter in what was reported, examined, testified to, or any other part of the case. But, if you are a cop, or a retired/former cop, that will be brought up in the news, in the testimony, in the civil lawsuit and everything else. We are "supposed to know better." We are the people who see this shit every day, who work in the mud and filth, and who somehow must magically emerge clean each and every time, never falling prey to the temptations, weaknesses, or failures of the rest of the world. Every single day in my jurisdiction and others people are arrested for things which will boggle the mind, or have histories you couldn't imagine - but it all fades to the back page when someone on the job makes a mistake.

Is it fair? Of course not.

Is it going to change? Absolutely not.

And if you can't handle it, find another job. This is part of the cost - the knowledge that the public, the courts, and your peers will hold you to a different standard than a citizen for the rest of your life.

Yes, in some ways it works to our benefit - I won't be a hypocrite and lie about that. Most cops won't write another cop for speeding or simple traffic stuff - "professional courtesy" is alive and well. They'll talk all kinds of crap about someone they don't like inside the station, but if outsiders are around that thin blue line becomes a solid wall. People I don't even like, and wouldn't say hi to in the hallway I will drive Code 3 across the county to help in a fight because they wear a badge.

But the cost is high.

Late on your bills at your job? That's your business. Here - it's something IA can start digging into, because now you're a "risk of bribery or corruption."

Have a family member who got popped for drugs, or stealing stuff or whatever? Who cares - we all have "those" relatives. Except for a cop - who has to be careful who he associates with in case it sends the wrong message.

Went out partying last night at the new bar in town? Glad you had fun. I can't go, because Internal Affairs and Organized Crime is watching the place due to rumored drug involvement amongst 1% of the clients.

Screw up and get arrested for something? In most cases you burn a few days of vacation, maybe even a few without pay, and life goes on - you have a story and something to bitch about, but you're still working, taking care of your family and all that. If you're a cop, the simple fact of the arrest alone means you are probably out of a job before the court case even is resolved.

Don't get me wrong - I am not excusing the officer for his behavior. He made his mistakes, and has zero excuses. This is more just a brain dump on the issues we face.

Twenty-some years ago, as I entered my first "special" unit I remember one of the senior members talking to all of us new guys. Part of the discussion lay in the fact that three things will kill your career - alcohol, women (at that time - for now we can say sexual relations and cover the gamut,) or money. Over the years I can say that has proven 100% true - and that far and above the winner is alcohol. It leads to more mistakes, lapses in judgment and just plain dumb decisions than anything else I have seen. I have watched people go from being a "golden boy" to a pariah based on one night's events; even worse I've had to go to funerals for those who didn't survive their choices.

I'm far from a hypocrite - heaven knows I enjoyed my beer back when I partook regularly. But I was very fortunate in not putting myself in those situations ever which had those long term consequences. And fortunately I learned some important lessons before making and serious mistakes. Unfortunately, far too many can't say the same. The demons which plague us all to one form or another managed to sink their teeth at the right times and forever after the effects will resonate in countless lives.

I guess I have a couple of points with this. For the world in general - keep in mind that we are human too behind these badges. We stumble, we slip, we fail at times. That doesn't change the inherent goodness of what we do, and try not to tarnish the whole with the mistakes of the few. For those who wear the badge - think about the demons in your own lives, and the consequences of your actions. Don't be the next news story just because you think you're above it all.

Shortest Horror Movie/Novel/Game Ever

Villager: "No! Turn back now before it's too late!"

Protagonist: "Ok, time to go home, obviously we don't want to be here!"

*fade to black as the hero rides home safely*

Monday, July 19, 2010

Suggestions sought

So - I'm in the mood for some spooky movies. Not "horror" as currently defined by "how much blood & guts can we fit on the screen per second," something more along the lines of classic X-Files, Fallen, or maybe even a hint of The Sixth Sense. Cthulhu type influences would be nice too... Just that suspenseful, skin-crawling, spooky kind of movie.

Any thoughts from the blogosphere?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Moments from another DUI hunt

Have to love when 5 hour overtime specials turn into almost that... it will help with the family vacation money at least! Plus, I always love the fun of people realizing that yes, that big white marked truck will stop you and arrest you when need be.

- You're really hurting the defense against your arrest when the very first part of my testimony has to do with watching you drink the beer as you drive slowly right in front of me.

- Even if you suddenly lose the ability to speak English once we start down the DUI road, trust me I'm still going to get enough to convict you.

- Just about 100% of the time people who say any variation of "You can't arrest me!" during a stop are about to be unpleasantly surprised.

- Your decision to refuse to take the breath test isn't really going to break my heart. I get another charge out of it, and the joy of seeing you lose your license for a year.

Finally - while I'm as open-minded as the next guy, who in the hell decided keeping a nine-inch sex toy in their glove box was a good idea? The purse I could at least comprehend - but just sitting there in the car 24/7 getting dirty? And people wonder why I wear gloves during searches...

Friday, July 16, 2010

It's "ask" not "axe" - supposedly educated people should know the difference.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Inspiration of the day

The title of the clip is "Dancing Auschwitz: I Will Survive"

A survivor of the Holocaust, his daughter, and granddaughters visited several of the camps and memorials throughout Europe, in a reminder of the ability of the human spirit to survive even the darkest of evils.

For those who find such things strange - remember, darkness is not defeated when we cower from the memory and fear to speak its name; it is defeated when we mock and laugh at it, when we bring it into the light and show that it has lost the power to terrify us.

Never again.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Innocence preserved

Jacob and I were having one of the near-endless conversations about Star Wars (his favorite movies of all time TYVM) during Kyleigh's naptime. During which he asked why Darth Vader's ship had looked different, along with some related question. My simple response being "Well, that's because he was the bad guy."

With the utter seriousness and conviction only a toddler can manage Jacob looked at me and replied "No, he was a daddy. And daddies are good guys, not bad guys." as he turned back to his play, having set me straight.

Someday my son will unfortunately learn that not all fathers are good, and that none of us are perfect. But for now I'm going to be happy with his innocence, and feel a bit better about the job I'm doing raising my kids.


Peter at Bayou Renaissance Man has a post up discussing the Srebrenica massacre which started 15 years ago on the 11th. I won't take the space to re-type the details of the event, or the facts before and after - far more educated people than I have done so.

But I will take a moment to remember the victims - and to feel the sorrow and shame of being unable to do anything about it. Writing this the best I can given the limits of memory & sworn responsibilities.

During this period of time I spent numerous tours in and around the zip-codes in question, working with various units. We gathered intelligence, knew who all the players were, and had plenty of information on what was going on between the various factions of the former Yugoslavia - anyone who tries to say otherwise is either deluding themselves or full of crap. All of this was reported up the chain daily - to regional and national (and in some cases international) players. 99.9% of the time for nothing.

You see, this was the Clinton-era post-Somalia military. Troops didn't go in on the ground, we didn't do anything that would put folks in danger of being in a news story, and heaven forbid we take a preemptive approach to anything. Air strikes (as long as the bad guys said it was ok) and an occasional cruise missile launch were ok, but we all knew nothing else was going to happen. For the regular units the frustration was even worse - we at least got training funds, they just spent more time cleaning, painting and doing busy work.

Add to that the intelligence sinkhole & leaks. Anything that got forwarded to the French we might as well have just sent straight to the Serbs. Things that went up through our channels were subject to interpretation, multiple layers of filtering, and sometimes blatant editing to match the agenda of the week. I can recall witnessing events first-hand, which were then listed as "suspected" or "non-existent" because someone a thousand miles away didn't like what the front-line folks saw.

So we sat. We watched. We reported. We begged for permission in many cases - whether to go in and capture a known bad guy, or to go in and protect those who were helpless. All for nothing.

The Kurds. Srebrenica. Rwanda. The Congo. Sudan.

Every one of these campaigns, massacres, and genocides the United Nations and the United States knew or knows clearly about. And I guarantee you that, just like we felt 15 years ago, any one of which the military would enthusiastically solve if given the chance.

I am all for civilian control of our military - I've seen the alternative, and it isn't fun. But this is the downside. If the mission doesn't fit the political agenda, public opinion or whatever else, even the best troops in the world can do nothing.

I gave up hope on the U.N. after Srebrenica - coalitions are important, but I will never again have faith in that organization. Somehow I still retain hope that the U.S. as a nation will learn from the past and prevent such events in the future, but for now that appears futile.

Be that as it may... for now, let us remember the victims of Srebrenica. Let us pray that someday we can mean it when we say "never again."

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Love wandering the college/art district with my son, wearing an old military shirt and watching the sheeple twitch....

Thursday, July 8, 2010


Today I had a county employee try to call in a complaint because I left my truck running - you know, that whole "100 degrees out, dog inside" thing is apparently difficult to comprehend... The boss & I laughed about that one for a while.

So glad it was my last day of the week.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


You know it's a warm day out when you let the wonderdog out of the truck for a break, and he heads right back to it when he's done, instead of the normal "can we play, please? I get bored in there!" game we usually go through. Instead, my partner's little doggy eyes were clearly saying "Dude, it's hot as heck out here, the AC is in there... open the gorram door!"

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

"Think you used enough dynamite Butch?"

Yes, there were intermediate steps, but I like the overall "before & after" of these two shots.

Have I mentioned my job can be fun at times?

Monday, July 5, 2010

Busy day

Though I do think the high school kids are getting mellow - it took them all the way til July to get their summertime bottle bomb campaign going...

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Fuzzy day

Ended up being awake about 24 hours straight yesterday, between family stuff, work & a DUI special which ran late - and, not being a youngster anymore, I don't recover quite like I did in my stupider days. So, a bit fuzzy in my world today, but fortunately I get to be home and enjoy the family, which is a good way to recover.

- I really get annoyed with officers who are so stuck on not working late that they're going to let an underage DUI go home with a "minor in possession" charge as opposed to doing their job... Fortunately it was a situation I was able to step in and take the arrest, so junior who was twice the adult limit got to wear the handcuffs. I'll deal with late & tired any day I need in order to do the right thing.

- It always makes me happy on the other hand the number of people who are grateful and polite for what we do, even if it results in a bit of a delay to their night, as we try and get the drunks off the streets.

- The lies people come up with in vain attempts to avoid the consequences of their own actions are always worth a laugh. Last night was the traditional "those aren't my pants," "I don't know how that got there," "I paid those tickets/got my license back/just got insurance," and "But I swear I only had one beer." My favorite though was the young guy we caught with some drugs who made Bill Clinton look like an amateur in trying to dodge questions... up to and including the (revelation to me and others) attempt to claim that his custom-printed "Virginia 420 Club" collection of stickers with prominently displayed leaves etc. was REALLY the symbol of a religious group & that it was the Jewish tree of life...

Oy vey.