Tag: Police

Lose the Camouflage, Please


I am in agreement with much of what Claire Berlinski and Jon Gabriel wrote in their earlier posts on the events in Ferguson, Missouri.  For the last fifteen years, much of my writing has been devoted to the cause of explaining — if not always justifying — police actions that have come in for criticism in the media.  While I know little of the incident that precipitated all that followed, if it is indeed true that the officer was 35 feet away from Michael Brown when he opened fire, I cannot imagine a set of circumstances that would justify him.

That said, like Claire and Jon, I have been troubled by some of the images broadcast from Ferguson.  And while I’m comfortable to be in their company, it’s strange to also find myself agreeing with the likes of Rachel Maddow, who on her program on Tuesday, showed a picture of police officers in camouflage aiming rifles at… I’m not quite sure.

Outrage in Ferguson


Just hours ago, I proposed to Ricochet’s Liz Harrison that comparing the United States under Obama to Turkey under Erdoğan reflected a failure of imagination.  I was remembering, among other things, the circumstances under which I left Turkey, which I detailed at length here:

June 1: Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators in more than 40 Turkish cities keep protesting. The protesters move to the office of Prime Minister Erdoğan in Beşiktaş, providing the police with an excuse for even harsher retaliation. Every living being in the district gets showered with tear gas—including, I’m told, the officials in the office, which at least was satisfying to imagine, if it’s true. Ankara and Izmir rise up in force.Snippets of conversation: “They’ve got to be running low on tear gas.” … “They saturation bombed this part of the city with gas, how much can they possibly have?” … “This is just ridiculous. What the [redacted] are they thinking?” … “Why the [redacted] are they provoking this, I wonder? Completely lost it? …

That Lonely, Dark Place


Grey BeachAt the risk of nauseating Rob Long, I offer a few words on suicide, about which I have learned more than I would have cared to.

I’ve seen many sorrows in more than 30 years as a cop, but the images that haunt me most are the suicides.  My first, when I was just weeks out of the police academy, happened on the beach.  A woman called the police to report her husband missing, and it was my partner and I who were assigned the call.  The woman greeted us at the door of a beautiful home near the beach, showing us inside to take in the trappings of what was – or had been – a prosperous life.  There had been financial setbacks, she told us, and she was worried that her husband would not be able to cope with the sudden change in the family’s fortunes.  They kept a gun in the house, and when her husband did not come home as expected she feared the worst.  When she found that the gun was not in its customary place, she called the police.

It was wintertime, or what passes for wintertime in Los Angeles: gray skies, a bit of drizzle, and a biting wind coming off the ocean.  My partner and I began to trudge across the sand of what appeared to be a deserted beach.  But there was someone out there, down near the water.  From a distance, he looked to be sleeping.  Or perhaps he was just gazing up at the passing clouds.  But as we got closer we could see the gun near his hand, and then the blood in the sand, and then the wound in the side of his head.

Sounds Like Most of My Friday Nights


I’m out of town this week, but I’m grateful that a fellow Phoenix resident is taking up the slack in my absence:

The incident began about 2:30 a.m. Friday when a man went through the drive-through at a Julioberto’s near Seventh Street and Glendale Avenue and lost track of his cellphone, said Sgt. Steve Martos, a Phoenix police spokesman.

Member Post


I have had the misfortune of knowing two individuals in my life who I can confidently call narcissistic sociopaths.  Their moral disregard for even their closest relatives and friends is shocking. They are as cruel to children and elders as to peers. At their best, they are either dismissive or manipulative. When angered, often by […]

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An Officer’s Lament


shutterstock_123247681One of my good friends serves as a police officer here in the Pacific Northwest. Over time, he’s been frustrated. About a month ago, he expressed his frustrations thusly:

Dear Conservative Ideology — There is no easy way to say this, so I am just going to say it. I’m breaking up with you. I know what you are thinking. No I am not seeing anyone else. I am not going to remove my conservative sign and replace it with a liberal one. Right now, I’m just going to stand on my own. Ironically, the thing that has pushed you away from me is the one thing that has always kept me far away from liberal ideology … anti-police rhetoric.

He goes on:

Isla Vista: Could Rodger Have Been Stopped?


My latest piece over at PJ Media concerns the murders in Isla Vista. Among other issues, I discuss the pro forma calls for more gun control, this in a state with some of the most restrictive gun laws in the country. A sample:

 And still there are those who entertain the childish fantasy that some act of legislation, some magical addition to California’s already voluminous gun laws, might have been the one that impeded [Elliot] Rodger from carrying out what he was determined to do. Richard Martinez, father of Christopher Michaels-Martinez, one of the students Rodgers killed on Friday, has been passionate in his condemnation of the National Rifle Association and the politicians he perceives to be in its thrall. “Why did Chris die?”, he asked reporters.  “Chris died because of craven, irresponsible politicians and the NRA.”

Mr. Martinez can be forgiven in his grief for failing to blame the actual killer, but even in grief one must not disregard the grief felt by others whose loss is just as great. Elliot Rodger killed six people, three of them by gunfire. And he injured 13 others, eight by gunfire. The parents of those stabbed to death or run down in the street might ask, “You seek to ban the implement that harmed your child, but what’s to be done about the one that harmed mine?”

Michigan Town Issues $200 Fine for Swearing


shutterstock_57708913What the flaming heck is going on in Brighton, Michigan? If you curse near one of their city-owned playgrounds, the cops will give you a ticket and a steep fine. That just burns my biscuits.

Colin Andersen, age 19, swore at a police officer for giving his buddy a skateboarding ticket. (I guess skateboarding is a crime after all.) For some reason Andersen was surprised that the officer didn’t approve and was shocked to receive a ticket and a $200 fine for disorderly conduct.

“What got me to start arguing a little bit, they were asking all of us to leave because he got a ticket,” Andersen said. “That’s not fair. We’re just standing around.”

Should Police Get a Warrant Before They Search a Cell Phone?


shutterstock_188124092My latest contribution over at PJ Media concerns two cases now before the U.S. Supreme Court. Both cases, Riley v. California and United States v. Wurie, involve warrantless searches by police on cell phones seized from people who had been arrested. Current case law allows officers to examine the property of people they have arrested, which sometimes leads to the discovery of incriminating evidence. Such was the fate of Mssrs. Riley and Wurie.  The former had his conviction upheld through appeal while the latter’s was overturned, setting the stage for the Supreme Court to resolve the conflict.

But how should the police deal with the cell phone found on an arrestee? Should  cell phones, owing to the vast amount of personal information often stored on them, be accorded more protection than a wallet, a notebook, or anything else a person might carry? If you think it should be, what legal precedent would you apply? And if there is no established precedent, should it be left to judges to create one, or should it be left to the legislative process?

Read the column here, then come back and weigh in with your comments.

Police “Protection”


In a nation of 300+ million people, the occasional tale of legendary idiocy or corruption is to be expected. Hey, it happens. A few incidents across one of the largest nations on Earth is not a trend.

What grabs my attention in Mark Steyn’s latest column, however, is the long series of high-ranking officials who are apparently willing to excuse the inexcusable — a young man, wrongly suspected of stealing a car, taking a bullet (which collapsed his lung) from a policeman after objecting to the cops’ rough treatment of his mother: