Saturday, October 14, 2017

The Bills That Count

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; Theodore Roosevelt.

Mourning the passing of Lakewood Police Agent Ellis King.

I ran into my friend Ellis not long ago as he booked an arrestee's belongings into our Property Unit. He was fit, looked great. His usual smile and hearty laugh were intact. There were a few of the new guys about, but he wanted to remember...

"Those were great days," he said, booming voice commanding the room. "You and me and Mike Flowers working all of North Sector. Great times."

Ellis had been hired in 1980, me a year later. We hit it off, became friends. We worked the rough part of town, he and I and Mike. Call to call, having each other's backs, balancing a steady, sometimes bone-crushing workload. At the end of the day, laughing. With Ellis, there was always laughing.

Our careers ebbed and flowed. I ran into him at a low ebb, complaining that the organization was beating me down. How did he manage to keep a positive attitude after all of the years?

"The City has paid every bill I ever had."

Heroes are often measured by the enormity of their achievements. Ellis was a hero measured by the steadiness of his contribution. Always there at your "Six," never ever letting his friends down. Ellis and Mike and me.

I will miss you more than you will ever know.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Target Rich

“This won't stop her from getting elected," Shane said. "Stupider people get elected all the time. It's America. We love the sleazy. And the crazy."
"I would like to think better of us," Claire said, "but yeah. You're right.”
Rachel Caine, Bitter Blood  (2013)

Everyone, on both sides of the political wars, would like their heroes to be virtuous, their villains to be pure evil. So, when some disgusting fat-body Hollywood creep who happens to give gobs of money to progressive causes turns out to be a letch... Oh, my. Ain't we got fun.

First, let's get off of our high horses. The women who did what they had to do in a corrupt industry are not collateral damage in our culture wars. Many are true victims, people looking for honest work.

Most important, it isn't like we just discovered this about "Tinseltown." Google casting couch. The first example on Wiki is from 1915.

You want to make changes in the way women are treated? Stop going to the movies until real reforms are discussed and implemented. This self-ambulatory pile of pig shit ain't the only predator in town. Movie makers certify that no animal was harmed in the making of a movie...

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Act of Defiance

Butch Cassidy (Paul Newman) "They're in the trees up ahead."
Sundance (Robert Redford) "You take the trees, I'll take the bushes."
Percy Garris (Strother Martin) "Will you two beginners cut...it...out."

Butch and Sundance try their hand as payroll guards. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, (1969).

In the immediate - and I do mean immediate - aftermath of the horrendous Las Vegas mass murder, there are a couple of points to make.

1. The average person has an amazing amount of courage that they access in critical times. Thousands of men and women did unfathomably heroic things while under fire. Many did things that cannot be adequately described as brave.

2. Professional first responders in Las Vegas went about their jobs in a manner that should make all first responders, and all Americans, stand up and cheer. I'm in awe.

3. Do not underestimate the power of prayer.

Okay. Here are a couple of things the Keyboard Rangers dabbling in bizarre conspiracy theories and hokie amateur analysis need to remember:

1. Las Vegas Metro, the FBI, the ATF, a variety of JTTF entities and a host of other agencies will be processing the crime scene for weeks. Witness interviews, review of CCTV from Mandalay Bay and other forensic evidence may take months.

2. It will be months before all of the collected data is collated, reviewed, catalogued and analyzed. The more really tasty "Off shore money transfer" evidence that is revealed, the longer it will take.

3. It may be years before the full report on the Route 91 shooting is ready for the public.

So... Ignore the Internet sleuths. They will only raise your anxiety level. Hug your kids, call your mom. Buy your sig-oh something special. Take the dogs for a walk...buy a dog. Listen to country music and never feel ashamed about who you are.

And give a big shout out for this guy. I'd love to buy him a beer, but that line is probably long and distinguished.  


Monday, October 2, 2017

Exceptional Valor a Common Virtue

Please welcome my friend Jared to Bikecopblog. We worked together when he was an exceptional Victim Advocate for our department. Both of his parents are police employees. Several years ago he began his own police career. I was going to write this blog, but read his words this morning and felt they were far better than any I could manage. Used with permission.

Title a variation of the statement "Uncommon valor was a common virtue," Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, USN, Iwo Jima, 1945. 



I have been watching coverage of last night’s massacre, in which multiple media outlets that routinely condemn police officers as a whole have deemed the actions of Las Vegas law enforcement as “exceptional.”

They couldn’t be more wrong.

Last night, Las Vegas police officers prepared for another “day at the office.” Then a man started shooting into a crowd. Their impulses to help others and stop the shooter overrode their impulses to protect themselves. As everyone else fled, they advanced—toward an unknown amount of shooters in unknown positions, to defend the lives and safety of people they had never even met. Most confronted automatic rifles with semi-automatic handguns. Most approached rifle rounds wearing ballistic vests that are unable to stop those rounds. The threat was more than thirty floors up, and they approached from the street. When they located the shooter in his room, the first officers in knew there was a very good chance it was the last room they’d enter alive. And they entered anyway.
This is not exceptional. This is the norm. This is what cops do because it is who we are. The exceptional ones are the ones who will dominate the news and the discourse long after the heroism of these officers fades from our collective memory.
Last night was tragic. But it would have been much more tragic if the men and women in police cars, fire trucks, and ambulances hadn’t done what the vast majority in their professions do all the time: run toward threats, stop them, and address the aftermath with selflessness and professionalism. And tonight they will get ready for “another day at the office” knowing full well it could be a repeat of the last...and that it could be their last as well.
I am devastated by the senseless loss of life last night, but I am proud of the men and women who proved yesterday, as they do every day, that such heroism and courage are decidedly unexceptional among our ranks. They do not require the recognition, but they certainly deserve it.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Malark

"Sometimes in the night, when the quiet wasn't feared as much, I'd think of home." Donald G. Malarkey at Bastogne, January 1945. Easy Company Soldier, Sgt. Don Malarkey with Bob Welch (2008).

Mourning the passing of Don Malarkey, soldier.

Consequential lives. That's what the soldiers of Easy Company, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne lived. What they did mattered.

He tried to enlist in the Marine Corps in the days following Pearl Harbor. He was rejected because of his teeth. Go figure. His next attempt was with the Army Air Corps - bad math. Drafted, he volunteered for the parachute infantry, having read that they were the best.

On June 5th, 1944 he climbed aboard a C-47 transport, carrying equipment that weighed almost as much as he did. The many perils of that night eluded him, and he joined on the ground a small band of night fighters. Toward morning they accompanied Lt. Richard Winters on an assault to neutralize artillery pieces raining death on the beaches at Normandy.

They numbered twelve. The Germans - five times more. In a brilliant piece of fire and maneuver still studied at The United States Military Academy at West Point, Lt. Winters led his team on a successful attack that silenced those guns. Malarkey won the Bronze Star for Valor. He was twenty-three years old.

Don Malarkey saw more action, and was on the line for more days, than any of the original troopers of Easy. He was still at the tip of the Allied spear when the 101st captured Berchtesgaden, Hitler's "Eagles Nest." They went to Austria to garrison, having been told that they were bound for the Pacific. Fortunately, the war ended prior to his redeployment.

I saw Don Malarkey at a presentation in 2011. He was touring the country, in the company of a friend, speaking about leadership. He talked of the other men, about their bravery, their sacrifice. He didn't say anything about himself.

I watched the Band of Brothers series, especially the interviews with the veterans. They all reminded me of my father. He had served in the Pacific, and fought in several of the most savage battles warfare has ever seen. He always said the same thing - "I was a part of something bigger than me. Those other kids, the ones who died or were badly shot up... Those were the heroes."

Don Malarkey wrote that this entered his mind, from Invictus, as he leapt into the night over France:

Out of the night that covers me
black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
for my unconquerable soul.

Thank you for your service, Sgt. Your soul, and the souls of millions like you, liberated a world.






Thursday, September 28, 2017

Stand for Something

I'm just going to leave this picture right here. You fill in the thousand words.

Rescue mission in Puerto Rico
Me, I start with - "We have our faults and our flaws as a nation. This man, this mission and the continuing service rendered by our military are not any of them."

Stay safe. Be well. Thank you.

The Party's Over

"I've had a bachelor party for thirty years. Why do I need one, now?" Hugh Hefner, about to be married in 1989.

Noting the passing of Hugh Hefner.

I'm an introvert. I may be one of the few men of my generation who never wanted to be Hugh Hefner. Way too much social interaction. It had to be exhausting.

Okay, there was one thing. The pajamas. Staying in pajamas all day long. In a huge mansion. Overlooking a beach. With a book. That would have been cool.

Rest in peace. You deserve it.