Take It Off

I was 23 years old when I took my first job as a juvenile corrections officer. I’ve since worked with adults, males, females, low-security, high-security, and been on SRT (what some call SORT in other agencies, or Special [Operations] Response Team, sometimes referred to by inmates as “the ninjas”). I spent just enough time in it to become slightly jaded, and other life experiences have made me downright cynical. I learned a lot during my time there. Other corrections officers would know terms that the general public rarely, if ever, knows – duck, keistering, fish, hooch, cellie, dog, SHU, soldier, PC, shank, etc. Oh, I almost forgot every officer’s favorite – gassing! Ask your local CO what that one means. None of those words mean what you might think they do “on the outs”.

One of the most important things I learned was that you want to be very, very careful who gets in and what they bring with them.

Inmates have all day to come up with amazing ways to smuggle contraband into a facility. In the past year or so, it hit the news that even Charles Manson was able to get a cell phone and call a reporter. Cell phones are a huge no-no in prisons. No staff are ever allowed to bring cell phones into a facility. If an inmate gets his hands on one, he can do unbelievable damage. He can take pictures of weaknesses in security, run his black market deals, and stalk his victims. I’ll never forget being out on the perimeter in a truck with the 12-gauge at 0200 one VERY cold morning in 2007 when, all of a sudden, I slammed on the brakes at what I heard. I was listening to the only hard rock/heavy metal station in Southern Arizona when the DJ played a caller who said, “yeah, I’m an inmate at such-and-such facility in Florence…”

A cell phone will be kept hidden in pieces by several inmates, who will reassemble it and pass it around. Each inmate pays to use it – they trade whatever they have of value, sometimes commissary items (food), most often contraband or favors. If even one piece is discovered, the whole operation goes down and they have to find an inventive way to get another one. If a guy is actually caught using it and the phone itself is confiscated, everyone involved goes down for it, and the guy who gets caught – which, in this case, was a new guy looking to show off on his favorite radio station – will catch hell for a very long time. That morning, we shut down the facility, and another officer took the truck while I marched into the housing unit where the inmate who owned the familiar voice was housed. You wouldn’t believe the look on that inmate’s face when he refused to rat his accomplices out and Sarge announced to the entire block, “gentlemen, one of your neighbors has just gotten himself caught using a cell phone to call a radio station. Officer Maguire was good enough to listen to that station and catch the call tonight! Until that phone appears in my hand, you will ALL be locked down!”

And wouldn’t you know it? The very next thing we heard was, “hey, Maguire! You listen to the heavy shit! You’re alright!”

It took two days to find the few pieces that remained of the phone. One inmate admitted breaking his part into tiny pieces and flushing them. No evidence of who was contacted would ever be retrieved.

The Supreme Court finally ruled today on Florence v. Burlington. Albert Florence was arrested on a warrant during a traffic stop by a New Jersey state trooper in 2005. Back in 1998, he fled a traffic stop; by 2003, he fell behind on his payments and skipped a parole hearing. A warrant was issued for his arrest. Within days he appeared, paid the fines and worked everything out, but a clerical error left the warrant sitting open – two years later he was taken to jail. He didn’t have bail money. He was strip-searched twice – once at the initial holding facility, a second time at the transferring facility.

Florence sued, claiming his Fourth Amendment rights to be free from unreasonable search and seizure had been violated. The National Constitution Center took on his case. Their entire argument revolved around the fact that he shouldn’t have been arrested, and once he was, jail officials had no reason to be suspicious of contraband – thus they were wrong, according to the suit, for strip-searching him.

I never liked doing strip searches, even on females (I simply cannot refer to inmates as “women” – it’s not a dehumanizing thing, it’s just my professional way of mentally separating inmates from people I might mingle with in my personal life). If you had to strip search an inmate who hadn’t showered or you could tell felt awkward, it was just an unpleasant experience, particularly if your subject actually did have something hidden in a body cavity. Women can hide some pretty unbelievable objects. You just kinda went robotic when you pulled that duty.

Officers don’t enjoy it, but we’d do it because it could have a serious impact on our own safety if we didn’t. Inmates considered low-risk have been caught with razor blades taped under their testicles and all manner of objects you wouldn’t believe stashed in a place that God never intended for that particular purpose. Every inmate, no matter what their risk, has to be searched. Thankfully, SCOTUS agreed on a vote of 5-4.

I find Florence’s argument patently ridiculous. He says, “I was no danger, they didn’t have any reasonable suspicion, so they had no right!” Five justices disagreed, thank God. Yes, it was wrong that Florence was arrested. He absolutely had a right to sue the court. To claim that he shouldn’t have been strip-searched is dangerous at best. Every inmate is treated the same, lest a mistake be made and the wrong person manage to smuggle a very deadly weapon into the facility and wreak havoc. For instance, low-risk inmates are allowed to work as “trustees” – they are loosely supervised workers who do various jobs throughout a facility, including collecting trash. Those trustees also collect trash from outside the gates, where visitors dispose of their garbage – and more frequently attempt to disguise dangerous contraband as trash for trustees to collect and deliver to high-risk inmates.

Yes, there’s a litany of very good reasons why every single inmate is strip-searched when entering any facility. Even seemingly innocuous items such as bobby pins, toothpicks, bubble gum, and ball-point pens (all of which are contraband) can pose a serious security and safety risk. I’ve seen nunchaku (lesser-educated people might spell it “num-chucks”) constructed of tightly rolled magazines, masking tape and less than one foot of bungee cord. I’ve seen inmates hollow out the soles of their shoes to sneak narcotics in with. Shredded sheets and t-shirts could be used to wrap the handles of carefully-sharpened pieces of glass and metal, making very impressive knives.

What I find humorous is the dissenting opinion – not surprisingly written by Justice Breyer and joined by Ginsburg, Kagan and Sotomayor, four of the most embarrasingly liberal justices to hold seats in the Court. The very first thing Breyer does is cry about strip searches being an invasion of privacy; the next thing he does is prattle about what constitutes a reasonable search. The entire dissenting opinion completely ignores the fact that we’re talking about jail and prison inmates. These are people who have broken the law. When you go to jail, quite a few liberties are taken away. Jails routinely restrict inmate access to newspapers and news programming on TV to avoid bragging rights among inmates when their case hits the news. Inmates are required to wear jail uniforms, adhere to wake-up and lights-out calls, follow strict meal times and court schedules, and keep their cells clean. Breyer wails that strip searching is degrading to inmates; if that’s going to be your argument, the next thing you’ll hear is, “they can’t search our cells! That’s our private property!”

And, really, if this is going to be their argument, then they’re setting the stage for convicted violent felons to sue for the right to own firearms once they’re freed from prison. Hey, if there’s no reason to be suspicious, why would anyone have a right to tell them they can’t have a weapon? Background checks are degrading! I should never have to disclose to anyone that I’ve been incarcerated!

Bottom line, the safety of officers and other inmates is vastly more important than the comfort of someone who is in jail for a reason. Police and corrections officers are not there to determine the legitimacy of a warrant; those are issued by judges, and it is the courts that have to answer for mistakes on warrants. I feel for Florence because he shouldn’t have had a warrant out for his arrest, and yes, the county and courts should have been sued for their error. If the liberal four really want a reason why they’re wrong, they can talk to the families of corrections officers who have been killed in the line of duty by inmates who managed to obtain or make weapons despite these searches.

You know what the hilarious part about this is? The same liberals who would side with Florence have no problem at all with TSA agents groping us in airports. That is a regular laugh riot, I tell you.

We Are All George Zimmerman

On August 19, 1991, a Jewish man driving a station wagon in a motorcade fell behind and eventually got into an accident. The driver knew he was going to end up on the sidewalk, so he steered his vehicle away from all of the people he could see – yet ended up hitting a wall. The wall collapsed, killing 7-year-old Gavin Cato and seriously injuring his cousin, Angela. The two children were black, their parents immigrants from Guyana. City EMS and Hatzalah (an all-volunteer private Jewish EMS service) both arrived. City EMS directed one of the two Hatzalah units to take the driver to the hospital for his own safety; another Hatzalah unit stayed to help extricate the children from the rubble and transport the children to the hospital.

Crown Heights has very high numbers of blacks and Jews, and the two had long kept an uneasy relationship. When 22-year-old driver Yosef Lifsh averted one tragedy only to unleash another that day, long-dormant tensions almost immediately hit the ignition point and the neighborhood was overtaken in a racial flashover of epic proportions.

When city EMS workers arrived, Lifsh was being pulled from his vehicle and beaten by black witnesses – some the very people he had desperately tried to avoid hitting. A large crowd gathered. Lifsh tried to help the children but was eventually beaten back, and when the ambulance services arrived, Lifsh was taken away to the rising fury of the crowd – which had begun to chant, “Jews! Jews! Jews!” The resulting uproar sparked a pogrom which, to this day, has never really been answered for.

Ari Goldman, then a reporter for the New York Times, was openly angry with his bosses for not reporting the truth about the riots. Jews, who had not shown violence, were brutally attacked by their black neighbors. A few hours after the riots began, some 20 black youths set upon Yankel Rosenbaum, an Australian Jew in the US to study for his doctorate. Yankel was beaten and stabbed. As he lay dying, he was able to identify the 16-year-old who stabbed him for police. The next day, black demonstrators chanted, “death to the Jews!” Jewish homes and businesses were looted and set on fire; bricks and bottles were thrown through windows and at Jews. At Gavin Cato’s funeral, race-baiting charlatan Al Sharpton made crude remarks referring to Jews as “diamond merchants” and said, “it’s an accident to allow an apartheid ambulance service in the middle of crown heights!”

Sharpton has since had the unmitigated gall to claim that he went to Crown Heights at the start of the riots to see “brick-throwing on all sides.” He’s talked about “extremists in the Jewish community” and how those supposed extremists called him out wrongly for referring to them as diamond merchants. He claimed that he should have talked about how precious Yankel Rosenbaum was as he eulogized Gavin Cato, but failed to mention that he was too busy challenging Jews to “pin their yarmulkes back and come over to my house!” Even more astonishing, he has the temerity to say that we shouldn’t be too concerned with who is the “greater victim”.

Lemrick Nelson, Jr. was acquitted of murder charges in the death of Rosenbaum despite video evidence showing his involvement. He was later found guilty on federal charges of depriving Rosenbaum of his civil rights. Only one other rioter faced any charges; nobody else was arrested or brought to justice, and not one acceptable apology has ever been offered to the Jewish community in Crown Heights for the outrageous crimes committed against them in August of 1991. Yet we have never seen Jewish protests or outrage; we haven’t seen Jewish youths go on rampages down black streets. Instead, they have maintained their dignity and used their intelligence to call out the flagrant anti-Semitic acts during the riots and the lack of concern on the part of the press or the authorities.

Fast forward to February 26, just one month ago. 17-year-old Trayvon Martin has just gone to stay with his father in Sanford, Florida and on a rainy day walks to a convenience store for iced tea and candy. He has his hood pulled low over his face. As he walks back to his father’s house, neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman spots him and calls police to tell them he’s following a young black man who is acting suspiciously. After a long spate of break-ins and violent crimes in the gated community, Zimmerman hears a dispatcher tell him not to follow Trayvon and goes back to his SUV.

The story gets hairy from there. The only eyewitnesses say they heard someone scream for help and came to see Trayvon standing over Zimmerman, banging his head against the sidewalk. Several 911 calls are placed. A gunshot is heard. The voices go silent. When police arrive, they find Zimmerman bleeding from his nose and the back of his head, a single round discharged; Trayvon is lying face-down, a bullet wound to his chest, dead. Other witnesses made claims that couldn’t be corroborated. Zimmerman tells the police that Trayvon attacked him from behind, knocked him down and beat him, eventually leaving him with no option but to shoot him in self-defense.

Since the incident, tensions have reached the boiling point yet again, with members of the black community spewing vile hatred for Zimmerman, claiming he’s a white racist (in fact, he’s Hispanic). Trayvon’s family has claimed he was just a good boy. Pictures of Trayvon as a 12- and 13-year-old, smiling in his football uniform, have been widely circulated. A picture of Zimmerman after an arrest in which charges were dropped has been widely circulated. Strange facts have begun to emerge: Trayvon was with his father because he’d been suspended from school after getting caught with marijuana. Zimmerman was actually well-liked by his neighbors and had thwarted at least one known break-in attempt.

Just like they did during the Crown Heights riots, the press has made a mess of the story. They’ve provided extremely biased coverage. They haven’t challenged a single aspect of their own story. They’re not reporting on Spike Lee tweeting Zimmerman’s address or the death threats Zimmerman has received; they haven’t called out the New Black Panther Party for openly putting a $10,000 bounty on Zimmerman’s head. Instead, they report only on the emotionally charged family demanding justice without questioning whether their son may have actually attacked a man. Yes, it is tragic that Trayvon died. It is unthinkable that we would allow mob justice to take over in America and a travesty that nobody is asking questions before taking action. We should have learned after Crown Heights.

The title of this post is meant to get your attention. I hope it has. We could all end up being George Zimmerman someday – accused of a hate crime you didn’t commit, the people in your corner being ignored by the public when they say you’re not a hatemonger or a thug, with extremist groups so ready to take your life that they’d offer a large sum of money to anyone willing to deliver you to them. If for no other reason than the fact that the truth is often distorted and we could one day be the targets of unfounded rage, we should defend Zimmerman’s rights and shout down the mob. If warranted, we should be willing to do violence to be sure the mob is stopped.

We all know the images being circulated of George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin. We’ve become well-acquainted with them. What if someone showed you different images of the two? What would you think then? Well, here you go…

NOTE: it would appear, according to a commenter, that Twitchy did, in fact, acknowledge that the photo previously posted here was NOT of Trayvon. While I didn’t get the photo from Twitchy, I feel it necessary to remove the photo and put another one up – this one actually of Trayvon. I maintain that the more recent photos of Trayvon have been deliberately hidden from the public.

Mom Would Never Lie

The press in Phoenix must have Essie Strong’s cell phone on speed dial.

I follow the news closely. Last week I read a story about a home invasion that ended when one of the men living in the home struggled with the invader and cracked his skull open with a clothes iron. I didn’t think much of it until today. The intruder was 20-year-old Moses Taylor. He died in the hospital of his injuries. His family held a car wash this morning to raise money for his funeral. His mother, Essie Strong, had her own version of events.

She claims that he wasn’t breaking into the home. He had supposedly been robbed and was running for help. He wouldn’t break into anyone’s home, she says. There was no reason to hit him and kill him. Unfortunately there’s more to this family’s story. A LOT more.

Back in June 2008, a news story broke about an officer-involved shooting near I-17 and Dunlap in Phoenix. Police were called by several people in an apartment complex who saw a young man chasing a pregnant woman; they feared for her safety. When police arrived and knocked on the door of the apartment the suspects had disappeared into, they were met by a thug wielding a gun. One veteran officer opened fire and hit the suspect. It turned out later that the thug was using a BB gun. Guess who it was?

Then-16-year-old Moses Taylor.

His mother, Essie, immediately went on the news and pitched a crying fit. It just wasn’t fair, you see – he only had a BB gun. There was no reason to shoot him over that. I wasn’t writing for this blog at the time, but when she claimed that it was “obviously” a BB gun and couldn’t possibly be dangerous, I posted photos like these and asked readers to tell me which one was the real thing:

Not one person, even my cop friends, could tell. Because of how serious airsoft war games have become (even my martial arts school does combat training with airsoft guns), it’s easy to buy a BB gun that looks like the real thing. Those officers couldn’t have known, and they can’t afford to wait to find out. They’re not going to ask, “excuse me, but is that a REAL gun you’re pointing at me?” They were perfectly justified in shooting Taylor. When it was proven that the officers did exactly what they were supposed to do, the press rapidly lost interest.

In October of 2008, Essie was back in the news when her 15-year-old daughter sparked a confrontation with a bus driver who ended up following her into a convenience store, punched and kicked her, then threw a large bottle of Powerade at her. The press didn’t even mention Moses Taylor’s incident at the time, but Essie (surprise!) never questioned her daughter’s behavior. I said then that the bus driver was absolutely wrong for his behavior – something about a grown man chasing down a teenage girl just sounds wrong on the surface, let alone what he ended up actually doing – but I questioned whether Essie’s daughter really only tossed up her hands and yelled, “you almost hit us!”

Essie never questions her own children, so it should come as no surprise that when Moses Taylor was killed during a home invasion she stepped into the spotlight yet again to claim he didn’t do anything wrong. As if she were there with Moses, she had the nerve to claim that he’d been beaten and robbed and was “banging on the door to get help.”

I call bullshit.

What facts the press hasn’t gotten wrong are pretty clear. There was no banging on the door. Taylor entered the home through a window and left his pants behind as he crawled in. One of the men living there heard the window break and went to confront the intruder; that’s when the fight broke out and the tenant grabbed a clothes iron and hit Taylor in the head with it. Everyone got out and police arrived to find Taylor in critical condition in the home. Witnesses in the area knew Taylor and they all said he’d been drinking and using drugs earlier that night. I’d have to ask, how would Essie know that her son had been robbed? Did he hit the pause button on the scene so he could call his mother and tell her what happened right before he desperately broke the window of someone else’s home and wiggled through a hole in the screen, leaving his pants behind?

Here’s the most ironic part of all of this nonsense: the picture they’re carrying of Moses smiling brightly is his prison ID photo. In less than four years he managed to rack up four disciplinary infractions, every single one of them a major incident, the very first one being a sexual assault on another inmate. The crime that sent him to prison wasn’t the shooting in June, either. It was a violent armed robbery that the press never breathed a word about three months later.

Yeah, he was just running to find help. Mom would never lie, would she? Of course not…especially not after she learned her lesson during her own hard time for selling narcotics the year before Moses was born.

Oh, Those Rascally Tea Partiers!

Here in Arizona, we just marked the one-year anniversary of the Tucson shootings. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head and barely survived; six were killed, thirteen were wounded. I will never forget where I was when I heard about it – in the grocery store after getting off duty later than normal. I’ll also never forget what ran through my mind when I saw Pinal County sheriff Clarence Dupnik make his anti-right-wing remarks: fear. Particularly for my friends down in Tucson and Fort Huachuca, I felt fear. In the following days the Tucson tea party members received multiple death threats, but nobody in the media mentioned it (except on Fox News). Dupnik’s office actually told them to stay out of the public. At least two that I know of braved it to appear at the townhall held by ABC immediately following the shooting. They have both since said that they were deathly afraid to walk inside alone.

For months there was a constant stream of anti-right, hate-the-tea-party vitriol spewing forth from the left. Even after it had been proven that Jared Lee Loughner – the shooter – was off his rocker and subscribed to no single political belief, much less the right wing, Democrats kept up their story that we were to blame. We conservatives, we who believe in the Second Amendment and supposedly live on hatred (what, with our using silly-looking versions of crosshairs on a political map, it was no wonder people didn’t get killed sooner, right?). Democratic candidates such as Harry Mitchell got a free pass for using real crosshairs superimposed on a photograph of JD Hayworth (crosshairs that bounced around, much the way they do when I’m looking through a real-life scope at a target). Republicans or independent conservatives, though? We didn’t get one inch of wiggle room. We were immediately cast as the villains and are the villains in this episode to this day.

Today, in fact, DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schulz once again politicized the shooting with the following quote:

“We need to make sure that we tone things down, particularly in light of the Tucson tragedy from a year ago, where my very good friend, Gabby Giffords — who is doing really well, by the way. But the discourse in America, the discourse in Congress in particular…has really changed, and I’ll tell you. I hesitate to place blame, but I have noticed it take a very precipitous turn towards edginess and a lack of civility with the growth of the Tea Party movement. I’ve never seen a time that was more divisive or where discourse was less civil,” she said. “What the Tea Party has done is they have taken it to a different level, and so when they come and disagree with you, you’re not just wrong, you’re the enemy.”

In the wake of those remarks, RNC chairman Reince Preibus called her out for blaming us for the shooting yet again. She fired back with a denial that she had done so (I’m sorry, honey, but you need to listen to your own words again). DNC spokesman Brad Woodhouse promptly remarked, “Would it kill you folks in the Republican Party to stop making crap up?” THEN Woodhouse re-tweeted a Twitter follower who said this: “Priebus needs jaws tightened 4 his bs.”

So much for civility.

Let’s see about that hate-fueled rhetoric, shall we? I wonder if they were talking about a radio broadcast in which Rush Limbaugh said, “A spoiled child is telling us our Social Security isn’t safe anymore, so he is going to fix it for us. Well, here’s your answer, you ungrateful whelp: (audio sound of 4 gunshots being fired.) Just try it, you little b*stard. (audio of gun being cocked).”

No, wait…that wasn’t Rush. That was Air America hostess Randi Rhodes, back in 2005, talking about Bush.

Maybe they were upset about Mark Levin’s broadcast, where he said, “I have zero doubt that if Barack Obama was not in power, people wouldn’t be dying needlessly tomorrow. I’m just saying if he did die, other people, more people would live. That’s a fact.”

Damn! Foiled again…that was actually Bill Maher, talking about Dick Cheney on his show several years ago.

I know! They were referring to Laura Ingraham, who said, “If I got her a— on camera, I would put my Mars Air Jordans so far up her butt that the Mayo Clinic would have to remove them.”

No, no. That was actually Spike Lee talking about Condoleeza Rice.

Perhaps they were unsettled by Sean Hannity, who said, “Matthews? Aw, Matthews, somebody ought to wrap a strong Democrat entrail around his neck and hoist him up about six feet in the air and watch him bounce.”

Silly me. That was Mike Malloy, also from Air America, talking about Matt Drudge – and he used the words “strong Republican entrail”.

I’ve got it. They were talking about Ann Coulter when she said, “…And then there’s Obama who said of Iraq ‘We have our good days and our bad days.’ We should put this S.O.B. up against a wall and say ‘This is one of our bad days’ and pull the trigger.”

*SNAP* Wrong again, folks. That was a quote pulled from a Democratic Party fundraising ad seen in St. Petersburg, FL.

I’d like to know what these civil leftists would say to KGO host Charles Karel Bouley, who said, “F*** God D*mned Joe the God D*mned Motherf*cking plumber! I want Motherf*cking Joe the plumber dead.” He’s a gay man who was once fired by ABC for using a string of profanities on the air. Maybe they have a response to Chris Matthews, who said, “You guys see Live and Let Die, the great Bond film with Yaphet Kotto as the bad guy, Mr. Big? In the end they jam a big CO2 pellet in his face and he blew up. I have to tell you, Rush Limbaugh is looking more and more like Mr. Big, and at some point somebody’s going to jam a CO2 pellet into his head and he’s going to explode like a giant blimp. That day may come. Not yet. But we’ll be there to watch. I think he’s Mr. Big, I think Yaphet Kotto. Are you watching, Rush?”

I’d really like to know what they have to say to Michael Feingold, who uttered this in a theatre review: “Republicans don’t believe in the imagination, partly because so few of them have one, but mostly because it gets in the way of their chosen work, which is to destroy the human race and the planet. Human beings, who have imaginations, can see a recipe for disaster in the making; Republicans, whose goal in life is to profit from disaster and who don’t give a hoot about human beings, either can’t or won’t. Which is why I personally think they should be exterminated before they cause any more harm.”

Yeah, those Tea Partiers are awfully dangerous. I can’t recall a single member of the Tea Party going on a radio program or writing in a stage review about how leftists should be exterminated. I do, however, balk at the incredible hypocrisy of Courtland Milloy, who wrote the following in the Washington Post: “I know how the ‘tea party’ people feel, the anger, venom and bile that many of them showed during the recent House vote on health-care reform. I know because I want to spit on them, take one of their ‘Obama Plan White Slavery’ signs and knock every racist and homophobic tooth out of their Cro-Magnon heads.”

The Goebbels school of PR is in full swing.

CORRECTION: Clarence Dupnik is the Sheriff of PIMA County, not Pinal. I get those two mixed up all the time.

Fair Is Fair

Of my two jobs, my EMT work is my favorite. It’s made me a little cynical, and every day I do it I go on at least one call that will never have a happy ending, but I enjoy it. I’m not the kind of person who would enjoy doing whatever it took to make as much money as humanly possible; I do like making money, but I also have this unnatural need to work a job that means something more than money (besides, even though I’d fight to the death for their right to keep their money, those with lots of money and high social status always seem to lack even the most basic manners and can be outrageously inconsiderate – I don’t want to be that).

Once I make paramedic, I’ll be in a union. That union will be able to do a lot of things for me, but there’s a lot of others it won’t be able to do. Public safety jobs don’t always pay well. There is not a public sector union that can obtain the kinds of pay and benefits that the United Auto Workers’ union can – not by a longshot. UAW workers have, for a long time, enjoyed six figures a year plus amazing health care, vacation and sick time. Since Obama took office he has elevated unions to a status that Adolf Hitler did, calling them important to the function of our society – even calling upon union leaders for advice and support. Many of those union heads are well-known as thugs.

As an EMT-I, my pay tops out around $12.50 an hour. As a paramedic I’ll start somewhere around $15. I’ll have to not only do drug AND alcohol tests (which I’ve already done) to achieve that position, I’ll have to keep doing those tests to maintain my position and I’ll have to keep up with my immunizations. I face exposure to various pathogens via bodily fluids, and could end up with Hep C with the stick of a needle (which has happened to others in my profession). I have been called to domestic violence incidents, sexual assaults, gunshot wounds (with the gunman still running loose in the area), stabbings, police standoffs, you name it. I have been there to see medics inject a heroin addict with Narcan to save his life, only for that addict to get pissed that we ruined his high. I cannot ever say I’ve seen it all, because as soon as I do, that bastard Murphy will come around to kick me in the ass with some heretofore unseen calamity that will become the stuff of legend (I have three words: lost condom call).

All that considered, it pisses me off to no end that this was captured on camera outside a plant staffed by UAW workers.

I have an education. I am very good at writing reports. I have a freakishly accurate memory. I paid for my original EMT school and am working my way through my continuing education. Yet I, who have obeyed the law my whole life, make around half what UAW workers make and they have repeatedly been captured consuming alcohol and using illegal substances on the job. These guys are convicted felons and gang-loving thugs and they’re making twice what your average cop or EMT makes? And they can imbibe during their break times? How in the hell does this work?

Unions like UAW are largely responsible for the obscene amount of outsourcing that American companies do nowadays, yet you won’t hear a single damn one of these occu-pests calling them out or marching to their homes. They have played an enormous role in pricing us out of our own market. They went from fighting for the basic rights of workers to fighting for pay and benefits that most companies cannot sustain. Factories have since been moved to Mexico, with parts being made in China and the Philippines. The liberals make demands that companies can’t live up to and then they act shocked when those companies ship the jobs overseas – and THEN they claim that “the rich are getting richer while the poor are getting poorer”.

What really roasts my ass about this incident is that every single one of the deadbeats you see in the video kept their jobs. They were suspended rather than fired. If any member of my crew pissed hot for narcotics or drank booze on the job, they’d be booted out the door so fast it would be painful. There would be no negotiation with the union. They’d be prosecuted, too.

I have to wonder what is so damned stressful about their jobs that they need to drink halfway through their day. I’ve gone on calls where I’ve had to tell a parent that we’ve just pronounced their child dead in a suicide attempt – believe me, I’ve wished I could have a drink after those. If assembling body armor is a new kind of stress that requires chemical intervention, then this is something that I’ve gotta try.

A Million Little Grinches

I will never, ever go shopping at a brick-and-mortar store on Black Friday.

I started refusing from the first year it was held, because at the time I was doing robbery investigations for JP Morgan Chase (I no longer work for them). Back then, our group also fielded calls from various offices whenever a malicious caller made a threat, and back then I heard some outrageous things from customers whose cards were stopped during Black Friday sales. I later went on to another department with that company where I talked to the customers directly, and things got worse every year. In 2009, I had a woman say, “you know what I’m gonna do? I’m gonna come to your office and shoot you in the balls!” (Whereupon I corrected her and told her that I was a woman, to which she replied, “no you ain’t! I ain’t never heered no woman talk like no man!”)

This year, this happened at a Wal Mart just half an hour from where I live. It’s the talk of Phoenix right now (aside from the plane crashing into the Superstition Mountains).

I’m going to take a look at both sides of the issue.

The story from the family is that they had gone at midnight to a sale at a Wal Mart store in Buckeye, a suburb of Phoenix. Jerald Newman, 54 years old, had taken his grandson Nick and they were headed for a video game sale that was about to open. Witness Skylar Stone says that the crowd insanely ripped the box to shreds, and Nick was only able to get his hands on one game – but people in the crowd tried to snatch it away from him. Newman, in an effort to stop the greedy crowd from doing so, took the game and shoved it down his trousers. That’s when a loss prevention employee tried to detain him. Newman is hard of hearing and the LP guy wasn’t in uniform; when that employee called uniformed Buckeye police officers over, Newman was slammed to the ground, knocked unconscious, and dragged off to jail. They say that no explanation was requested.

Police, however, say that his actions were classic of shoplifters. According to them, even once uniformed officers came over, he refused to calm down – and when they tried to handcuff him, he still fought, flailing his arms wildly, leaving them no choice but to use force to detain him. His behavior, while it may not have been intentionally aggressive, were still dangerous, and when a person refuses to de-escalate officers will do what they need to do to contain them.

I can understand both arguments. I can understand wanting to protect his grandson and not knowing who the loss prevention guy was. I can understand that he was hard of hearing and wouldn’t have been able to make out what he was being told. What I don’t understand, though, is why he would have put the merchandise down his pants. I’m not sure I believe he was trying to steal it, but regardless of the reason for doing so, there were other ways to stop sticky fingers from trying to steal it from Nick. He had to know that employees would question that kind of move. After that, once he saw uniformed, armed officers approach, he should have understood even though he couldn’t hear. You simply cannot get agitated when you are dealing with a police officer. More often than not, when an officer is dealing with an agitated person, that person intends to do harm, and the officer cannot afford to wait for you to do something harmful.

On the other hand, I’m not sure I understand body-slamming the man onto his face. I’ve studied martial arts for half my life, the vast majority of my time in Shaolin (traditional kung fu) and Krav Maga (Israeli hand-to-hand combat). I’ve taught police officers. I’ve seen what they teach those officers in the academy. I can say with a fair amount of certainty that officers aren’t taught how to fight very well. They’re not really taught to be aggressive, some of them are just naturally so. I know from experience there are many ways to subdue a combative person that don’t include tossing them to the hard floor on their face.

Even though I disagree with both sides to some extent, however, I still think that the guy taking the video and yelling “is that REALLY necessary???” is an idiot. I can’t stand it when people do that to me in public, so it irritates me even more to hear it in these videos. If you’re asking that question out loud, it implies that you expect a response, and the officers are obviously busy. Shut up.

The lynchpin of all of this, however, is the crowd itself. How can any rational human being justify attacking a merchandise display like that and trying to tear a video game out of the hands of a 12-year-old boy? How the hell would you feel if someone else did that to your child? Even if that item is marked down by more than half, that is no reason to be a rabid thug, which is all these creatures are. If you are that desperate to get that deal because you can’t afford it at regular price, then you don’t need that item.

None of this is to mention the woman who, three kids in tow, opened up a can of OC spray (pepper spray) on a crowd headed for a display of XBOX game consoles. That woman managed to pay and get out before police arrived and they still haven’t caught her. Two men at the jewelry counter at a Wal Mart got into a brawl and had to be arrested. At two separate Wal Mart stores, shoppers were accosted by armed robbers in parking lots, with victims in both incidents being shot. A near-riot broke out in yet another Wal Mart (seeing a pattern here?), requiring a police officer to use pepper spray to disperse those involved. In yet another Wal Mart incident, a drunken 22-year-old was tased and arrested after getting into a fight.

The holiday spirit isn’t what it used to be. What scares me is that pretty soon we’ll have reality shows popping up to chronicle the insanity of Black Friday because it almost seems that people enjoy the drama. It is embarrassing that this is what my country has turned into.

Unbelievable

When the news first hit, it was hard to swallow: college football defensive coaching legend Jerry Sandusky, one of Penn State’s best, had been caught with more than just his pants down. The report was that a graduate assistant went to the locker room and heard “slapping noises” that he recognized as being sexual and, to his horror and revulsion, found Sandusky having full-on sexual intercourse with a 10-year-old boy. Disgusting, isn’t it? It would be if that were where the story ended. Disgusting doesn’t come close to covering what happened.

That was back in 2002. The assistant, who isn’t named in the grand jury’s finding of fact, didn’t go to the police. He called his father. His father didn’t tell him to go to the police, either – he told the assistant to tell Joe Paterno, Penn State’s legendary head coach. He waited until the next morning to call Paterno. Then, Paterno failed to call the police – HE called Tim Curley, who was Penn State’s athletic director, who then called Gary Schultz, the university head of business and finance. Even campus police were never informed. Apparently, Sandusky’s keys were taken away and he was told not to bring young boys to the Penn State locker rooms again. Oh, and they informed Second Mile, Sandusky’s charity for underprivileged youth.

Never, in any of this, did anyone stop to think that the police needed to be notified of what had happened. Not once did any of the people involved in that particular incident ever consider whether they needed to make sure that Sandusky would never be able to commit such a horrible crime again. As a result, other boys were sexually assaulted for years afterward. What’s more, by the time the 2002 incident happened, Curley testified that he knew of a similar incident in 1998 that Sandusky had been investigated for. You’ll love this part: Curley and Schultz both testified before the grand jury that they didn’t recall being told of all-out sodomy between Sandusky and this young boy. And when the university president, Graham Spanier, testified, he says that Curley and Schultz described the incident to him as “horsing around in the shower”. He also said they had no intention of ever reporting anything to the police. Then, the grand jury found that Curley and Schultz lied in their testimony that they had never been told that the “inappropriate contact” was “sexual in nature”.

Unbelievable.

Now that the feces has hit the oscillating rotator, Penn State has been forced to fire Joe Paterno and his name will be stricken from the school’s championship awards. The school had to cancel a football game due to the lack of coaching staff. Incredibly, students and alumni actually rioted in protest of the actions being taken. Pundits Tammy Bruce, Michelle Malkin and fiction author Brad Thor were all attacked by Penn State alumnui on Twitter for their stance on the meltdown. The common response? “Joe Paterno was 74 years old! He had a lapse in judgment! You can’t punish him and the football team for that!”

That’s even more unbelievable.

This is what happens when morality is no longer allowed in universities. You have liberals indoctrinating kids in our colleges to believe ideas about secular humanism, socialism and anti-religious ideals and we wonder why Jerry Sandusky gets away with child molestation for years after being caught in the literal act. You can see why in the reactions of Curley and Schultz – they were more concerned about the reputation of Penn State in the heat of the moment than they were with the well-being of a child. They were willing to sweep the whole thing under the rug to temporarily save their reputations. This was not a lapse in judgment; it was a deliberate, concerted effort to hide the truth, that a man who had unfettered access to young boys and to secluded areas on the campus of Penn State was committing unspeakable acts on young boys. We have, as a society, essentially said that God and morality have no place whatsoever in society (despite the fact that we have laws, which come from…um, morality), and we balk when something like this happens.

While the graduate assistant might be able to plead ignorance – which I disagree with, but conceivably he could – nobody else can. His father, at the very least, should have told him to immediately call the police. When he didn’t, Paterno should have. And when HE didn’t, the people above him – Curley and Schultz – should have. I’ll tell you right now, if I ever caught one of my friends doing anything like that, I don’t care how long we’ve been friends. First I will beat you soundly, then I will hold you for police. It should have insulted Paterno, Curley and Schultz when they discovered what he was using them and their facilities for. Instead, they tried to cover it up and protect him. Now we have entire groups of Penn State students angrily protesting the fallout, complaining that they shouldn’t have to pay. Wait right there while I check on whether I care…

Nope. My give-a-damn is busted.

May-HEE-ko

The one thing that Bush did that pissed me off the most was his handling of the Compean/Ramos case. On February 17, 2006, Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean encountered a drug smuggler named Osvoldo Aldrete Davila; he had a van packed with 800 pounds of narcotics. During a chase, Davila assaulted them to try to throw them off, including throwing rocks and kicking debris at them. They finally fired a shot at the smuggler, hitting him squarely in the ass – and the Mexican government immediately backed the thug by demanding that the officers be brought up on charges. Once they were convicted and sent to prison, Davila filed a $5M civil rights lawsuit. US Attorneys later admitted that Davila lied on the stand, yet nothing was done to correct the injustice. Bush commuted the officers’ sentences, when in reality he should have given them full pardons. The fact that he allowed this injustice to carry into their entire lives is the part that angers me.

Today, we’re getting news that another Border Patrol agent has been railroaded by the government he has served for seven years. In October of 2008, Officer Jesus Diaz took part in a major drug bust and arrested a 15-year-old drug smuggler in the same general area. Within hours of the arrest, the Mexican Consulate filed a complaint, claiming that the teenager had been beaten. Photos taken, however, contradicted this – he had no bruises or marks on his body other than the marks left by the straps of the pack he’d been carrying, which was laden with marijuana. The same US Attorneys office that hamstrung Ramos and Compean did the same to Diaz – and he’s just been sentenced to two years in the clink for “improperly lifting the arms of a suspect” during an arrest – a tactic I have used myself in an attempt to get a combative detainee to comply. It’s not torture, nor does it cause injury (at least not if you’re doing it right). It is a nonviolent persuasive action used almost universally by police and corrections officers.

Even worse – the snot-nosed little punk who claimed he’d been beaten was given immunity to testify against this veteran officer. And to top it all off, we’ve already been told that most of the witnesses – the non-US citizens – lied on the stand. Brilliant.

Yet again, the Mexican government orders us to jump and our government replies, “how high?” The Mexicans pushed for this prosecution, and we gave it to them. Now a good man with seven years of experience is in prison for something that everyone does, and officers will, once again, fear their own decisions.

How fair is it to make these guys second-guess themselves in the middle of a serious incident when their instincts are well-trained into them, and their training can save their lives? Why are we allowing our government to stab these men in the back for doing their jobs? And why in the hell are we allowing anyone in Mexico to dictate what we do?

I say we should throw diplomacy with them out the window. You don’t like the way we do business here? Fine – get the hell out. Don’t let the door hit you in the ass as you leave. You won’t dare cater to us, but you demand that we cater to you, and that’s not good enough anymore. You preach human rights and act all high-and-mighty in your refusal to use the death penalty – or extradite criminals who may face death in our courts – but your jails are the picture of inhumanity, filthy, no running water, little electricity (if any), and families have to send clothing and food (and your officers take what they want before giving it to the detainee). Inmates have been allowed to leave to run their criminal enterprises, and the officers are usually in on it. Not one soul in Mexico gains anything on merit, either; my Mexican friends came to the US because their degrees will get them quite a bit farther here than they ever would in Mexico, all because they don’t have any money or connections.

And you have the audacity to preach to us about how things should be run? I have to ask, other than my friends, what good has ever come out of Mexico? Hell, I don’t even like your beer and tequila – it all tastes like fratboy piss. You send over your uneducated and your criminals, and then when we send them back you get your knickers in a twist because we’ve supposedly violated their “civil rights”. I know better. You’re only mad at us because you never wanted them in the first place. Plus, we’ve long since clued in to your hope for re-claiming our land, and we’re not okay with that.

Oh, and Obama? He ain’t stayin’, either. Don’t get your hopes up. He might give you what you want for now, but eventually WE will have our say and the welcome mat will be rolled up.

It is an absolute travesty that the best of us are being locked away for doing their jobs. We should be ashamed that we allowed this to happen. Mark my words, we all bear responsibility. When this wrong is made right we owe that officer an enormous debt.

Free At Last

One of the most important lessons I have learned in my life is simple: do not allow your emotions to control you.

Emotions are literally drugs. Harvard researchers even found that the human brain, when a person is in love, reacts in the same fashion that it does when using cocaine. Love literally gets us high. Anger does also, albeit in a different way. When a major incident drives us to a rage, adrenaline can numb our nerves, steel our muscles and help us tune out some pretty intense things. As a kid, I wasn’t very emotionally controlled. As a grown woman, I’ve learned that it is when our emotions threaten to boil over that we must exert all of our willpower to remain calm and find a way to channel that emotion into something healthy.

In May of 1993, much of the country (largely the uber-religious portion) forgot what it means to moderate themselves.

I saw news reports about the murder of three eight-year-old cub scouts in West Memphis, Arkansas and saw the adults around me react first with revulsion, and then with untold fear. Mind you, they didn’t always put voice to it. The story went that it was an occult ritual crime. My church, however, started whole new classes and sermons about how to spot potential satanic activity in kids. I grew up in the culture of satanic panic and at the time I believed it. Then again, I was a kid and I had no reason to question it. While I still believe in the spiritual realm, I don’t see it as being what they made it out to be back then.

When the news reported that three teenage boys believed to be involved in a satanic cult had been arrested for the murders, churches everywhere went wild. A guilty verdict was not necessary in the least. As soon as the story hit that Jessie Misskelley, Jr., Jason Baldwin and Damien Echols had kidnapped, raped and murdered the boys as part of a satanic ritual, no evidence was needed. They could have done without the trial entirely. The mention alone was enough to convict three teenagers. Once the three had fingers pointing at them, no other suspect was even considered. Even West Memphis Natives Chris Morgan and Brian Holland, who skipped town for California just four days after the bodies were discovered and made incriminating statements AND failed polygraph tests with Oceanside police, were forgotten. All anyone focused on were the statements made by Echols about being a satanist. Then again, every metalhead kid I went to school with back then said the same thing for shock value because the Christian kids gave them a reaction.

Looking back on that time is surreal every time I do it. It feels strange to realize just how emotionally involved we were in all of that and how dangerous it has become. With barely circumstantial evidence, zero physical evidence and a coerced confession, prosecutors were able to put two teens away for life and sentence a third to death. Rumor had it that Damien Echols had taken his first name (it had been Michael) out of an obsession with the movie The Omen. In fact, he’d taken it after a famous Catholic priest when he converted to Catholicism. That was never said in the courtroom.

Defense attorneys in both trials – Misskelley was tried before Baldwin and Echols – were denied the ability to present expert witnesses who could have thoroughly debunked Misskelley’s confession as coercion. It didn’t matter that police had only recorded 46 minutes of a 12-hour interrogation, and it certainly didn’t matter that police had to correct him (and were caught in the recording correcting facts such as when the boys were abducted, what they were tied up with, and how the bodies were left in the creek). It didn’t matter that forensic evidence actually proved the boys were never sexually assaulted. A superstitious jury of locals convicted Misskelley.

When he recanted his confession and refused to testify for prosecutors (even though they offered him a sweetheart deal to testify) in the Baldwin/Echols trial, the confession was legally not allowed to be presented as evidence. So-called “fiber forensics” proved little more than the fact that fibers found near the victims could be matched to clothing worn by half of the people in West Memphis. Hair and blood traces were collected, but DNA testing wasn’t then what it is now. There was almost no blood from the boys at the scene. There was absolutely no evidence whatsoever to suggest that even a halfhearted cult crime had taken place anywhere near the scene. A hunting knife was found in the lake behind Baldwin’s home, but it didn’t belong to either of the boys and couldn’t be called the murder weapon because none of the victims were stabbed. The prosecution’s star “expert witness”? It was Dr. Dale Griffis. He sold himself as an expert on all matters occult. Every single thing he said on the stand was untrue, merely a parroting of legends and myths that Christians had long spread about satanic cults.

Then, during deliberations, jury foreman Kent Arnold slipped word of Misskelley’s confession into the deliberations. The move was completely illegal; he’d talked to an attorney friend intimate with the prosecutor’s work to convict the West Memphis Three and knew details about the confession that weren’t public. What he didn’t say was that it was fraught with mistakes that interrogators openly corrected him on. The confession was completely inadmissable, but it was entered anyway and all three ended up behind bars for a crime that they didn’t commit.

Years later, in 1996, a little-known documentary began to make waves. Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills raised questions that many wouldn’t dare ask for fear of offending the families of the victims or questioning the wisdom of what had been done. Heavy-hitting musicians and actors poured money into the defense fund. In the past five years, DNA evidence has proven that none of the West Memphis Three were at the scene of the crime. The initial appeal for a new trial was denied by none other than Judge David Burnett. Burnett, you see, had been the original trial judge, and he had handed down decisions blocking the defense from presenting a great deal of exculpatory evidence. He never would have allowed his own decisions to be questioned, particularly not in a case of this magnitude.

It took a ruling from the Arkansas Supreme Court to grant a new trial. Then, out of nowhere, prosecutors played on the fears of all three accused and all of their families and supporters: they cut a deal that both spared prosecutors from eating crow and granted all three immediate freedom. They would offer an Alford Plea. Such a plea allows the accused to maintain their innocence while agreeing that prosecutors have enough evidence to convict them. In other words, they were pleading guilty without admitting guilt. None of them liked the idea of admitting even a hint of guilt, but all three agreed because Echols has been within three weeks of execution once already. Any longer and his execution would move forward. They were re-sentenced to time served, given ten years of probation and immediately freed.

Echols, on death row, wouldn’t have had much contact with other inmates, if any at all. Baldwin and Misskelley were a different story. I can only hope that all three find their place while they work to clear their names, which they have vowed to do. Far too many of those who have been freed from prison after more than a decade behind bars have ended up in trouble again because they didn’t know how to live “on the outs”.

Knowing what I know about criminal justice, investigations, evidence, legalities and all that goes into them, it seems plain as day to me that the WM3 are innocent. Those who continue to cling to the idea that they are guilty don’t have any hard facts; all they have are emotional reactions based on a superstition that created the wrong in the first place. Having learned the hard way just how dangerous that is, I believe we should learn, even when we are so enraged we cannot see straight, to take a step back, look at it from a couple of different angles, and if we can’t make an informed decision, then have others help us to do exactly that.

I am less than impressed with the game being played by prosecutors. It is unfair that these three were forced to take this step. I am ecstatic, however, that they are free, and I pray that they have the support they need to make it in the world as it has become. I pray that the true killers are found. I still hold to my faith even though it is dramatically different now than it was then. I believe that all of those who are unrepentant will answer to God for their wrongs – including the hordes of people who blamed their drive to convict three innocent teenagers of murder on their religion and have continually refused to admit their wrong.

(In)justice

For decades now, Europeans have derided America as barbaric. We still use the death penalty. We still allow citizens to own guns. It’s an injustice, they say, and we’re inhuman for such principles. They talk about us as though we’re just children who will learn once we grow up.

In light of recent events all over Europe, I would beg to differ.

Just over a month ago, Dutch politician Geert Wilders was acquitted of hate speech allegations. Hate speech is a crime throughout most of Europe, and when he made the short film Fitna (Arabic for “struggle”) – showing the realities of Sunni Islam and the damage being done to Western democracy by the influx of Muslim extremists – he found himself the target of hatemongering Muslims and supporters who wanted him dead. In the past, anti-Muslim extremist Dutch politicians and artists had been targeted as well. Theo van Gogh, after making the eye-opening short film Submission (which is the literal translation of the word “Islam”), was threatened for weeks before being shot dead. Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Dutch politician who helped him make the film, is currently living here in the US to stay away from those who wanted her dead as well. Cartoonist Lars Vilks has had to booby-trap his home for years after being pursued by radical Muslims over his cartoon depicting Mohammed. Two years prior, right-wing politician Pim Fortuyn was assassinated by a pro-Muslim leftist who only got 18 years for his crime.

That’s just in the Netherlands. It was European liberals who committed many of those crimes (with the exception of Mohammed Bouyeri, van Gogh’s killer, who was just a Muslim nutjob). I find it interesting that it is conservatives in “enlightened” Europe who commonly have to run for their lives. Most recently, in Norway, a wealthy young man set off a fertilizer bomb in Oslo in front of a major government building while he traveled to an island that housed a liberal youth camp. In Norway, guns are only legal if you have a permit from the government, and you have to apply to the government for each firearm you wish to purchase; Anders Behring Breivik had no criminal record and found little trouble in getting the Ruger Mini-14 and the Glock pistol he used on the island of Utoya. In Norway, if you apply for any weapon and list “self defense” as your reason for wanting it, you are all but guaranteed to be declined. After being disappointed during a trip to Prague to get guns (he wrote in his 1500-page missive later that he felt safer in Prague than he did in Oslo), he went through all the motions to legally obtain the guns he used to kill 77 and wound or maim 153. After the fact, there was a (very) short debate on what his punishment should be. However, according to Norwegian law, he is only supposed to get around 30 years before being freed while in the US he would have been put to death. If just a couple of people on Utoya had been armed, he could have been stopped, but now he will live a long, healthy life thanks to the injustice that is Norwegian law.

Now, in London, people are rioting. It began in the low-class neighborhood of Tottenham after 29-year-old Mark Duggan was shot and killed by police. What began as a peaceful demonstration organized by his friends and family turned into riots that are still going strong, driving professional football clubs (soccer to the unbaptized) to cancel major games planned in the city and PM David Cameron to call up more than 16,000 police to quell the violence. People angry that a “good man and father of four” was supposedly murdered by cops have turned London inside-out; the city hasn’t slept for three days, and rioting has given way to looting. Those supposedly angry for justice are now destroying their own neighborhoods much the way Los Angeles did back in 1992.

Facts are a pesky thing, though. Duggan was no saint. He was a documented gang member and was believed to have multiple guns, which are completely illegal in England. The government went from registering guns to banning them outright back in the mid-90’s. Duggan was about to be arrested for dealing crack and he was armed. There seems to be some question as to whether or not he fired, and whether he aimed at officers is unclear, but they saw the weapon and heard shots, so they fired. One officer’s life was spared when a bullet aimed at him struck his radio. It could take some time to know the exact details, but Duggan was not innocent by any stretch of the imagination.

This is from the group of nations that peers down their collective nose at us and grumble about how unjust we are?

European cultures may be much older than America, but at least we know the definition of the word “justice”. Our judicial system is far from perfect and grates on my nerves sometimes, but at least we don’t question whether or not a violent offender needs to be put away for the remainder of his Earthly existence. Nobody cried when Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacy were put to death. Humberto Leal, while there were those who called his execution unfair, deserved the death penalty for torturing, raping and murdering a teenage girl.

We don’t tell you how to run your justice systems. Don’t tell us how to run ours.