Category Archives: Law enforcement

Drive Down Memory Lane

It might make more sense to scroll all the way to the bottom, and read backwards until you come back to the beginning. After all, it‚Äôs not the destination, but the journey, that is the most important. ūüßź

2021 Chevrolet Malibu

And lastly, is the first real new car purchase that will likely be my last. Purchased pre-pandemic, it didn’t track as many miles. My hopes are that my pleasure driving will replace my business driving; my desire to rest will usurp my need to capitalize; and love of cars will only fade amidst my desire to keep ONE.

2011 Chevy Suburban 2500HD

By far the most fun of all of my adult run-abouts! It was a recreation vehicle, a money-maker, a friend transporter, a mobile office, and a school bus. It facilitated advocacy, demonstrated efficiency, and inspired creativity.

2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe

By far the prettiest. It was enjoyed as an accessory, a fixture, and commodity. Like plenty of luxuries, it didn’t last as long as I would have liked. Depreciation, high-priced maintenance, low reliability resulted in a premature curbing.

1992 Lexus SC400

And then came the current project car. The first challenge was to give it an identity if it own. When, in fact, it’s become symbolic of passion that is lost and excess that is not consumed.

2008 Honda Accord Coupe

It was a classroom of sorts…
It was spotted in many places…
It served as a back drop to be more…
It served as inspiration to do more…
Memories were made…
After a round trip to Florida and becoming a hashtag king, it turned many heads. It was the one that mini-me learned to drive in, took her test in, and hoped would be hers.
This one was the hope and the promise that was never made. It’s the one that was almost paid off, but fate had other plans.

2003 Oldsmobile Bravada

When I asked either of my kids if they were interested in this one as a first car. They both replied, ‚Äúewwww!‚ÄĚ So they both ended up with nothing.
First foray into municipal auto auctions yielded a $900 profit! It created a false sense of confidence. I registered this one to conceal the purchase price. I blew the profit on the next stratagem that never got registered. Irony?

2005 Dodge Charger POV

Elwood: “It’s an old Mount Prospect police car.” Jake: “The day I get out of prison, my own brother picks me up in a police car.”
Purchased sight-unseen, it took nearly 7 months to find a new owner who was even less profound.
And so the quest to find a project car began. This was Daddy’s failed attempt to either flip a municipal police car for profit or pickle a project car.

2005 Toyota Avalon Touring

This could not be the car that the kids learned to drive. Dad’s classiness would soon be traded for a practical trainer. Something cute and nimble perhaps?
As Dad took photos, he realized that he chronicled more than a love for automobiles. Soon the children would be driving too.
And Daddy’s princess was developing character of her own. As her character developed, daddy matured. There was reason to be more responsible. And few cars are more responsible than a Toyota.

2005 Dodge Ram SRT-10

Daddy needed a more family-friendly transport. Perhaps a peppy luxury sedan?
It had character, but remained in the driveway most of the time.
It was the fastest production truck ever made. It’s fuel economy was nearly the worst for any passenger vehicle at the time (second only to the Hummer H2) It could pass anything on the road except for a gas station!
Alas it was time to remove the old rescue squad truck from the back yard. What better way to commemorate Dad’s love of Dodges than to buy my own dream truck and name it after his old wooden sailboat Exta Sea?

2001 Lincoln Navigator

Three years later, two restless parents could not agree on one compromise. The compact car was sold to cover the retainer, but this SUV was a consolation prize for a dad who couldn’t get enough time with his kids.

1998 Honda Accord (white sedan)

But a week before my son was born, our previous Honda was pushed through an intersection and into a utility pole. Deployed airbags saved us all. The uninjured driver who disregarded the stop sign watched us take an precautionary ambulance ride. Our newborn son came home from the hospital in daddy’s newest ride.

1998 Honda Accord (blue sedan)

But it wasn’t long before my family grew and a need for another family-responsible auto. 4 cylinders for four family members only made sense when rising gas prices might prevent date nights and family outings.

2003 Suzuki Katana

Purchased with only a rider’s permit, I rode it for 7 days before my first accident. But as any dedicated rider would, I was back up and riding soon after…

1979 Honda CB650

Purchased from a fellow teacher, I was quickly schooled on motorcycle ownership. It wouldn’t be long before I stepped up to something faster.

1998 Dodge Ram SS/T

After 36k miles of spirited driving had prematurely ended the lease on the Audi, we needed a replacement. We returned the 180hp sport coupe 2+2 for a 3 seater with a lot more pep.

2001 Audi TT (180hp)

Shortly after my daughter arrived, her Daddy wanted something to develop her own enthusiasm for automobiles, or so it would seem. Rally racing and car shows were not uncommon.

1995 Ford Contour SE

The day that our baby shower was planned, I was given ONE JOB. I only had to distract my new bride while our friends and family planned the surprise. A trip to the car dealer fit the bill nicely. But when asked what my gift to the baby and mom-to-be would be, I gulped and offered this car that we were test-driving.

1940 Dodge Power Wagon Rescue Squad

Not long after I negotiated my first auto loan, I began to plan my family. I transplanted this old rescue squad truck from Salem, where my father had parked it nearly 25 years earlier.
It’s cruising days had long-since ended. But my new home became its new home, and it watched my family grow.

1995 Pontiac Bonneville SSE

My mileage checks added up to provide a down payment. Trading my stripped-down convertible covered the expense of the taxes and registration. This was the first and last time that I exploited a ‚Äúpush, pull, or drag your trade‚Ķ‚ÄĚ

1989 Toyota Tercel DX (5spd)

My first full time job after college graduation required me to commute 100 miles daily to Cape May. The mileage allowance alone paid for this tin can. With no radio nor carpet, the only luxury was a full-size spare. My shifting skills got some practice and I sold it six months later before the clutch revealed its ware.

1979 Dodge Ramcharger 4×4 Convertible

After an uninsured driver rear-ended my 83, my quest for a convertible Ramcharger yielded this beast! With a 2 inch body lift and a 2 inch suspension lift, the 35 inch tires fit beneath those wheel wells nicely. It too got terrible gas mileage and became more affordable to ride the bus to class.

1973 Dodge Challenger SE

I thought that every Motor-head should own a classic. In anticipation, I purchased this hot rod a few years before it became a classic. A cash advance on a college credit card was not the biggest mistake, but I think I may STILL be paying for this one.

1983 Dodge Shelby Charger (rare automatic)

My love of Dodges did not transfer into my other relationships well. This beauty was the first I bought for cash from a used car dealership. Although I bought it for my college sweetheart, her appreciation never manifested. Neither relationship lasted long enough.

1979 Ford Bronco

My best buddy nurtured a love of Fords. Despite my fondness of Dodges, I decided that if I ever had the opportunity, I‚Äôd acquisition a Bronco. I traded the pick-up for this beauty, but it needed more than I could offer. They joke that F O R D stands for something. But ‚Äúon the road‚ÄĚ it could not stay.

1984 Saab 900 Sedan

My freshman year in college, I met the Vice President Provost of the college. He became my mentor. He recognized my love of automobiles and made me a proposition: mow his lawn for the summer and this beauty would be mine. I fulfilled my end of the deal, but was never able to get it running. It sat in my yard until I graduated.

1979 Dodge Pick-Up 4×4 shortbed (5spd)

My uncle once warned me to never buy a used vehicle from a mechanic. But there were no rules about buying a vehicle for sale across the street from a mechanic. And so this beauty was my #2. A sunroof was cut into the roof and then resealed with caulking. The seats were always wet! It got 9 mpg because it was engineered with full time locking hubs for the four wheel drive.

1983 Dodge Ramcharger 2wd

My first car. I got it when I was 15 years old. My father challenged me to work hard in order to keep it. I did a landscaping job for the church for two years to earn enough money to put it on the road by my 17th birthday.
Twenty years later, my efforts to preserve it failed. The necessary disassembly never gave way to the goal of restoration.
In the end, the replaced engine got waterlogged, the rodents made their nests, and the wheels were stolen. Inevitable the junk man took what was left.

The plan is to sift through old registrations and bind all of my records (because I’ve saved them all) for each of these vehicles. Each insurance card, traffic ticket, and accident report is a story. Automobiles have lives. They are also apart of our lives.

I’ve always kept at least one key from each automobile that I’ve ever owned. I’ve created a makeshift shrine. Not long from now, a new project will begin. These autos will be exhumed. They will rise again from the ashes. They will be located and brought together, not just in spirit.

The ultimate hobby will soon begin. Their Vehicle Identification Numbers will live again. Not as zombies, but as wheeled angels. And those keys will be used not only to verify their identity, but to start their engines again.

Guilty confessions vol. x

We must read between the lines. Indignant fools will not confess. Wise men will let us figure it out. Most of us wont ask the right questions. Some will not admit their doubt.

But if we could have more conversations, and talk it through, the life quality enhanced could belong to you. Rhymes and puns are clever. Analogies are fun and games. Unasked questions are answered never…kicking ass and taking names.

We can learn from other’s mistakes, but often we choose our own. The lessons don’t count unless we improve. The safest place is our home.

Alright! Enough of the wit. It’s down to brass tacks. Let’s discuss something real. Let’s avoid the character attacks.

The nineteen was dropped from COVID because the year is now 2021. The variant is called Delta to avoid another messy one. No more talk of the region of origin because it would confirm the problem we have with racism…

capitalism…

age-ism…

The fact that the world already exploits Southeast Asia; the reality that those in the west who created the vaccine don’t have access to it, can’t afford it, can’t get away from it–so we call it Delta, symbolic of the shape.

What happened to contact tracing? It was all the rage in 2020. But now? We just show color coded maps that coincide hotspots with political affiliations. But masks aren’t political! Diseases need cures, not vaccinations. But there’s no money in the cure.

There’s money in low wage-earners who need to get back to work; to serve the people who work for higher wages (who are able to work from home). If there was any chance that the cast system could be broken, a pandemic is as good a time as any.

Minimum wages increase as the poor hear the cries of the wealthy, “Get back to work!” An individual recognition of how organized labor maximizes income, the masses show the rich that they can either EAT them or join them. The wealthy, too, reorganize.

To be still affords us the opportunity to see things for how they are. After nearly 18 months of near-stillness, why are we surprised that things would change? Lessons were learned–just not the lessons that we planned.

The manipulation takes a more aggressive tone. The oppressed push back. For the first time the entitled feel victimize and scream bloody murder as they eat their own cake.

Education IS political for the simple fact that some get it for free, some pay for it, some don’t get it at all–and those are the ones that we elect to lead us. For anything that has value will be fought for. For anything that others need, there will be war. For anything that we can’t have more, there will be battles in store.

So today’s guilty confession is simple and secure. The liars will not stop lying. The wealthy won’t stop clinching their pearls. The poor wont stop fighting for more. The perverts wont stop groping girls. The mask-less won’t stop breathing. The cops wont stop beating. The disenfranchised won’t stop marching. The virus wont stop mutating. The END.

Birds Singing

For most of my life, I’ve lived in the midst of the woodlands. I was never far from the sound of traffic though. Rarely do I get to sit and watch people go by because we are all in a hurry to get somewhere.

Dogs bark and birds tweet, but I’m rarely able to get past the gossip hounds or the twitter rants. The coffee is never fresh brewed and the tea is always cold. I’m living in excess, but my needs are barely met.

I suppose my reflection has once again prompted my personal call-to-action. I WILL (for a moment) put down the phone. I will brew a fresh cup of java; even though it will surely make me sleepy. I will donate the things that I don’t need; and want a little less.

I won’t contemplate the lies I hear; I’ll be listening less. I won’t turn on the news because it’s usually the same old things expressed… differently.

I will ignore the news that the president’s spokesperson has retired her voice; even though I am entertained at the thought that the president will resume speaking for himself.

I will ignore that another black man was shot by police in the Deep South; even though it will be characterized as a righteous kill.

I will ignore that my clients make transactions right before my eyes. The battered doors and smashed windows weren’t warning enough for me.

I’ll ignore the bloated bank account because I remember that last week’s debits were overdrawn. The gas bill is low this week, but the electric bill is rising.

I’m just going to park the car, lock up the bike, and walk

Down the street

Watching

People go by.

We Are The Revolutionaries!

“Stand up and fight back!” ¬†No matter what side of the political isle you call home, you are going to experience a significant change in the socio-economic climate in the WORLD. ¬†What we are witnessing now is not merely an American condition.

As Canada prepares for American refugees, and Mexico shakes it’s head in disgust, there’s a¬†burning sensation¬†to revolt against the true¬†neo-fascist. ¬†The¬†political infrastructure for decades to come will be built on the decisions we are making in 2016.

Every conservative AND every liberal has a position on all of these issues:

Decent living-wage. ¬†Some defend the status quo because they’ve “earned” their place in life building a skill set based on hard work and opportunity. ¬†Others are demanding a better working condition as they watch their managers and handlers profit from their hard work. ¬†They call it¬†oppression.

Disenfranchisement. The good ol’ boy network has evolved to include a new demographic, but it maintains the same elitist restrictions. ¬†The club is now comprised of both “old money” and new wealth, but a general disgust for anyone looking to evenly distribute the opportunity. ¬†If there’s a way to hamper the positive change on the other end of a registered voter, it will be exploited. ¬†Selma exists in every region of our nation via gerrymandering, pole taxes, residency requirements, and basic literacy expectations. What would result if every ex-con, homeless citizen, naturalized immigrant, college freshman, or disenfranchised senior actually were guaranteed their human right to choose their destiny?

Social Justice. The same injustices that the “privileged” dismiss as delusions of grandeur are the badges of courage for every man, woman, or child who dare wear a hooded sweatsuit while grasping a bag of skittles. ¬† ¬†Martyrs are created from the innocent and under-privileged. Civil disparities prompt prejudice and bigotry based on skin color, gender, and creed (with a twist of poverty). ¬†The ultimate sacrifice is minimized and summarized into sound bites and hashtags. ¬†And a cry to go back to a “better time” is embraced by anyone with good credit, a stable job, and…outstanding student loan balances. ¬†The advocates for change are the same folks who have been denied access to the very freedoms for which they’ve paid! ¬†The protectors of those freedoms are the very ones who’ve enjoyed them for generations.

Criminal Justice.  A system that has incarcerated more minorities per capita than any nation in the world is founded on the premise that anti-social is pro-criminal.  But systematically, who is enforcing these norms? There are inmates serving prison sentences for crimes that have been repealed; for peddling drugs that are now legal; while while celebrities glamorize these same norms  and exploit the very same legal system.



Economics.
Profits would be generated on all of this except for the fact that the top one percent has their banks off-shore (and they’re not spending any of that fleeced wealth). Our government can no longer generate revenue from (foreclosed) property, (unearned) income, or (unsold) merchandise. ¬†The money that was spent on industrialized prison complexes, charter schools, and weapons of war…has long-since been directed away from law enforcement, public education, and social services.

“We can do much better!”¬† This is the new freedom cry, but it’s almost too late.

We are the new revolutionaries!  

But the freedoms for which we are fighting have already been given away.

Angry Black Man

In recent months I’ve been dubbed by my friends as the “angry black man.” ¬† My whole life I’ve been pretty happy-go-lucky. ¬†I’ve been serene, getting upset only when things happen that are within my control. ¬†All other problems were either surrendered to God or they simply slid into the abyss.
Life gets in the way…

Life!

It gets in the way of our hopes and dreams.  It also gets in the way of our problems.  Especially as every nuance of our lives gets translated into a sound bite or 15-minutes of temporary fame for the headliner.   Life just..happens.

Problems either dissolve or get handled in due time. ¬†But we exert emphasis on the life problems that are important to us–those life problems that have been ignored too long. ¬†The hashtags and the rally boards are all we have to keep the memories of martyrs intact.

2015 was a tough year.

I don’t think that this year is going to be much better. ¬†In fact, I think that last year’s headlines will only be exacerbated by current headlines. ¬†We’ve learned nothing. ¬†Or maybe we’ve learned plenty, but we haven’t figured out how to apply our new found knowledge.

Yes, I’m angry. ¬†Don’t I have the right to be?!?

Everything that I’ve trusted has been proven otherwise. ¬†I was led to believe that we had a justice system that protects the innocent. I see people who look like me (and behave like me) in the most precarious situations. ¬†We find ourselves in situations that would cause discomfort for anyone. ¬†But we are not referring to harassment, wrongful imprisonment, or brutality. ¬†Death is the sentence for anyone who resists. ¬†Wrongful death, accidental death, or even alleged suicide are par for the course if we are too loud, too independent, or try to defend ourselves.

Forget about exerting my Constitutional rights! ¬† Or my human rights!! Don’t even try to explain the misconception. ¬†Or the misunderstanding! ¬†“Guilty while black” has never rung more true. ¬†Why? ¬†Because our society has been given permission to let their hate flag flow freely.

Educators must be more selective than ever when teaching current events in school because of the content of our “leaders” actions. ¬†“Do what ever you have to,” is the freedom call for anyone who feels that they are entitled.

Police are more guarded because of the threat of retaliation for bad police policy.

Business is booming for lawyers and doctors though.  Everyone has standing to litigate and everyone has the ability to see a doctor.  As a result we are collectively bolder than ever. The elitist are protecting their legacy, and the working-class are fighting the downward spiral of becoming more like the the homeless.

It’s getting real. And I’m getting mad!

It’s become too easy to hate others! ¬† No one is focused on giving peace a chance. ¬†A nation of entitled “adult-children” have awakened under the leadership of a man who weekly affirms their complaints. ¬†They rant that America is not the land of opportunity that it once was.

Fact is that we’ve not yet reached our goal of freedom and liberty for all. ¬†Instead, we’ve been derailed. ¬†That light at the end of the tunnel is a train.

But who is to blame? ¬†It doesn’t really matter now, does it? ¬†Anger doesn’t care who’s wrong. ¬†Anger just fights! ¬† Anger will destroy everything and everyone until there’s either no energy left or nothing left to destroy.

Am I that angry? ¬†No! ¬†But I’m no longer tolerant. ¬†I’m no longer going to tolerate imbeciles who are careless in their acts. ¬†I will not entertain tomfoolery at the expense of others. ¬†I can not answer to subordinates who are incompetent and too inept to do their job. ¬†I am unwilling to tolerate individuals or organizations who are not generating positive energy or positive outcomes. ¬†If this makes me an angry person, I need you to check YOURself.

I’m not nearly as angry as I’m going to be. ¬†I’m AM battling though. ¬†I’m batting not against flesh, but against principalities. ¬† I’m not the only one fighting. ¬†I know what it’s like to ignore, avoid, and even give in to a confrontation. ¬†No more! ¬† My resistance doesn’t make me angry. ¬†It makes me strong.

I am a wall. ¬†A wall is not angry. ¬†A wall is not kind. ¬†A wall is a wall–strong, sturdy, dependable.

Am I that angry black man? Do you want me to be?

Real control verses virtual control

acheryImagine for a moment that you’ve exerted all of your effort protecting what you thought were inalienable rights. ¬†Then you realize that those rights could be taken without your consent, without warning, and without a debate.

We are so caught up in the arguments over rights, liberties, and fundamentals that we overlook the fact that what is “real” can be easily circumvented. ¬†It’s all for naught when the system is hacked.

Gun control and the war against terrorist (both domestic and foreign) have become hot topics.  We approach terrorist with a two dimensional lense however.  We argue around the facts. Hate is hate, no matter how we disguise it. Death is irrevocable.  And the methods that presume death are equally unpredictable.  Death comes!

Medical doctors try to prevent it (death). Doctors of psychology try to explain it.  But lawyers, law makers, and judges all have a role in attempting to promote safety.  The laws only give us the illusion of safety.  Real safety is incomparable to virtual safety. And virtual safety is beyond legislation.

Our culture is reactive in nature. We can’t effectively predict cyber terror. ¬†We certainly can’t legislate meaningful safeties. ¬†Realistically, laws keep honest people honest. The criminals operate under a much different code. ¬†And yet we ignore that fact! ¬†We debate–hoping that our passion will somehow awaken the intellectual fortitude to resolve the world’s crimes.

Pessimistic prognosis!

For years we’ve watched snipers, lone gunmen, and supposed terror cells infiltrate our educational, industrial, and governmental infrastructures. ¬†We react to the terror in the North America, but completely ignore the crimes against humanity in Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe. ¬†Gunshots in Paris evoke empathy, which turns quickly into a need to go to war. ¬†Meanwhile continuous acts of gun violence trigger a wave of increased gun sales in Southern California. ¬†When it’s local, gun owners take matters into their own hands. ¬†Scratch your head on that one.

It would appear that traditional terrorists merely need to evoke some fear by spending a few rounds into crowds of “innocents.”

Americans instinctively embrace their Constitutional rights.  Suddenly the 2nd amendment trumpets over the 5th Amendment.  The right to kill (err bare arms) is more important than the right to due process.

And then there are riots

Gun ownership doesn’t stop riots however. ¬†The misuse of guns sets the stage for the exploitation of the judicial process highlighted in the 5th Amendment. In other words, when that gun is fired by the wrong person AT the wrong person (regardless of the provocation), we react. And then we have riots!

Are Constituional rights more important than human rights?  Are they mutual exclusive?

nerf guns

But this is not about gun rights! ¬†This is about control, and the absence of control as a result of terrorist acts. ¬†There’s many kinds of terror. ¬†The fear caused by “traditional terror” is virtually immeasurable. ¬†The actual damage caused by virtual terror (or cyber terror) is real, and very¬†measurable.

Ironic…

The World Wide Web is under attack as leaders contemplate how to¬†regulate access to information. ¬†As we know, however, (1) terrorists are inspired by the governmental insistence that there will be sanctions for non-compliance. ¬†Even rioters rebel against sanctioned law enforcement–and rioters are considered domestic terrorist by some; (2) terrorists do not comply with the law; and (3) acts of terror are an implicit resistance to social norms. So the leaders are going to regulate this? ¬† Good luck!

Cyber terrorists are not going to wait for world leaders to develop a counter-plan. ¬†Hackers are but a keystroke or “viral code”away from forcing the virtual world to its knees. ¬†Sadly our culture is so heavily reliant on the virtual, that any threat is REAL.

jigsaw

As we worry about the terror threat level while traveling this holiday season, recognize that the anonymous hackers of the world await the command to flip the switch. ¬†There will be no regulation. ¬†There’s no tracking the hacking. ¬†When the lights are turned off, only the flashlights will work. ¬†And if your only flashlight is on your mobile device, you’ll be left in the dark.

Purged

Did We Just Experience a 30 day Purge?

Several years ago Hollywood created, released, and marketed a film that suggested that a law abiding community could be obtained. ¬†A utopia, if you will, could be created if the government would simply shut down for one day. ¬†There was a catch, however. ¬†In the time that there was no law enforcement, no rescue services, and no safe haven the community will be able to purge itself of all it’s anti-social desires and misdeeds. ¬†This was a fictional account of what could happen.

With marginal results, the film warranted a sequel. ¬†Last summer The Purge II opened in theaters nationwide. ¬†Uncertain whether it was a marketing attempt or a hacker’s wet dream, the entire nation was put on alert that real-life “purges” were going to take place in urban cities like Chicago, Philadelphia, and New York City. ¬†Heads of state scrambled to prevent panic as the danger might be perceived as eminent and¬†debilitating.

As time would tell, there was no mass shut-down of social or emergency services. ¬†There was no “24 hours of lawlessness,” but the months that followed unveiled a paradox of proportional injustice. ¬†Instead of law abiding citizens turning on their government, government officials have idly watched as law enforcement officers have turned on the citizens they swore to protect. ¬†There has been more media-amplified killings by members of the law enforcement community in the last 12 months than ever recorded. ¬†Consequently, an uprising of citizens has provoked more fear and reaction from the cops.

The citizens who have not engaged in a righteous civil rights struggle since the assinations of JFK, MLK, and Malcolm X are learning how to successfully develop a meaningful call to action.  Contemporary leaders have exercised the gamut of rallies, riots, sit-ins, die-ins, boycotts, and social media civil rights campaigns.  To no avail, the problems have been exacerbated right up to and including the mass murders that kicked off the summer of 2015.  What started as call to remember their names has morphed into a hashtagging frenzy that brought about awareness but has done nothing to slow the threat of injustice.  Good cops have been put on the defense, mayors and governors have braced themselves for public backlash, and county prosecutors have changed their tone to condemn the over-zealous murders that take place at routine traffic stops.  Even the president (from the safety of Kenya) has recently condemned the injustices that women, minorities, and the disenfranchised have endured for too long!

police-brutality-620x350

The Constitution that all officials have sworn to uphold has been revisited and challenged since it was penned. ¬†But the Supreme Court has made some rulings in the past year that have inspired ambitious politicians to base their campaigns on soundbites that either support the status quo or promise change through a new world order. ¬†The ignorant, the wealthy, and the oppressors now have a common bond as their presidential candidates spout catch-phrases like: “Let’s return to the good-ol’ days’ or Let’s take America back!”

The citizens who were once considered the minority have become the majority, and the over-privileged panic to maintain their wealth. ¬†Meanwhile an overlooked demographic has been embraced by the top presidential candidates…the ignorant and uneducated. ¬†There aren’t enough wealthy voters to elect a president! ¬†They are relying on the poor and hungry. As an aside, what better way to cultivate a nation of uninformed voters than to condemn the public schools? ¬†A political strategist can see it’s the quickest way to prevent a large number of people from acquiring the skills needed to question authority. ¬†The powerful are plowing seeds of ignorance, sprinkled with precipitation from countless thunderstorms, and reaped for November 2016 consumption.

The poor and hungry…

There are various ways to explain the condition of poverty:  poor in wealth, poor in spirit, and (and this case) poor in authority.  Hunger can be defined as hungry for nourishment, hungry for wealth, hungry for knowledge, hungry for religion, or (for purposes of this analysis) hungry for human rights.  The New Civil Rights movement will embody the poor and the the hungry.  Those who are neither poor nor hungry will resist.

Since the confederate flag came down, the nation’s eyes have been primed for a revolution. ¬†The rationale for keeping a historic symbol of hate up so long was already understood and accepted for 150 years, but the articulation of these sentiments was just too much for our nation to bare.

Starbucks made a preemptive attempt months ago when it suggested we talk about race, but the market could not tolerate such a “controversial” topic. ¬†The masses said, “No, it’s not the time…” as entire movements of “Black Lives Matter” and #ICantBreathe filled the airwaves, web paths, and store fronts. ¬†August will mark the movie release of “Straight Outta Compton” which will certainly shine a spotlight on what becomes of young black youth who embrace their art to change the world.

The past 30 days have been a warning to the world. ¬†We are a nation that was heralded for it’s democracy and liberties. Those who’ve sworn to uphold the Constitution are also the same individuals who apply THEIR discretion of its interpretation. ¬†The Supreme Court is the third branch of our government, but another kind of supreme court exists at every traffic stop. ¬†When our lawmakers do not create “just” laws and our law enforcers prioritize the laws based on their whims, the Supreme Court only gets the cases after it’s too late. ¬†We the people..?

police

Vigilante “hacktivists” are now taking center stage. ¬†The same technology that was designed to make our lives easier has allowed us all to fall victim to cyber-attacks, terrorist threats, and out-and-out fear for our well-being. ¬†We are now witnessing authorities surrendering to the demands¬†of terrorists, hackers, and the media. ¬†The NAACP and the ACLU have revved up their efforts to put anti-police social media and iphone apps into the hands of potential victims everywhere. ¬†Our liberties are being attacked and we are at a loss to defend them. ¬†Question: ¬†Who is the enemy?

Childish Conspiracy?

Once we put all the division aside, we are left with the daunting task of finding the truth.  Sadly the division between us is so great that we may never have a believable or reliable investigation. #SandraBland

For me, there is a valid reason that I don’t travel abroad more often.  I have a deep concern whenever someone asks me about where I am from.  The relevance of asking such a question may be as simple as making conversation, but the farther we are from home the more interesting we appear to others.  So it only makes sense that when we leave our nation’s borders, with being American comes questions about our lifestyles and the way we manage ourselves. There is a growing shame.

I spend more time focusing on domestic issues.  What happens close to home is more tangible than the seemingly unreliable tales of terror abroad.  When I refer to our foreign affairs as propaganda, I am met with rage from believers that the war on world terror organizations is more important.  My response is simple:  “How can we fight abroad when there is so much injustice occurring in our own nation?”

Questions like this recreate the division that (if just for a moment) seemed to disappear.  America culture is what unites us, but our diversity has leveraged more and more distance between us.  The fight against foreign terror tends to trump the concerns for domestic terror.  We have a narrow view of what is considered “domestic terror.”

The last 30 days of horrific events in both the Southern and Northern regions of our nation have been atrocious.  What we once considered homeland security risks (Jihads, ISIS, al-Queda) are now competing for national security resources. How effective is our local law enforcement?  When the military must be used to control angry mobs and martial law is enacted to maintain law and order in both urban and suburban landscapes, the shift in priorities is evident.

The identity of our terrorist has changed significantly as well. Defenders of freedom are frustrated.  We can’t identify a terrorist before “imminent danger” occurs.  Movies about spies and central intelligence had the American public fooled into thinking that we could thwart off an attack by deciphering encrypted messages.  But 9/11 confirmed that we can’t even identify a cipher!  How could we have so much intelligence and still have our freedoms threatened?  Before we had an idea of what terrorists looked like…and how they behaved…and how they organized…and how they recruited. Continued attacks have proved that we can not predict accurately. Instead we have heightened risks of attack each holiday season. First we panicked when terrorist began to look like “average Americans” but we then realized that there is no typical American look. Now we panic as Americans have been recruited to carry out these acts of terror on behalf of terrorist organizations.  This is a distraction.  America’s homegrown terrorist organizations have existed for hundreds of years.  We are witnessing a re ignition of hatred for freedom and democracy that is blossoming at an exponential rate. The Trench Coat Mafia and the Timothy McVeigh’s of the world are not the only domestic terrorists that we fear.  Those guys hated the American way and took notes from the Unabomber manifesto.  Shooters like James Holmes who opened fire in an Aurora movie theater (or the newest copy cat John Houser who recently “shot up” a Louisiana theater before taking his own life) are not considered terrorist although their flavor of terror rivals the Marine shootings in Chattanooga last week. “It was all over within 30 minutes.”  In times of true peril, a minute can seem like a day. As our nation bleeds, how does 30 minutes compare to the last 30 days?


The look of terror never changed.  We just didn’t know what we were looking at!  But these incidents bring about a fear and worry that is far different than the type of domestic terror that is sparking controversy week after week.  The last shovel of dirt was not cast on the graves of the “Emmanuel Nine” before the nation focussed on a flag that hung too high.  What a distraction?!?  But it was a fight that needed to be fought nonetheless.  Little did we know that it was a catalyst for a wave of hate crimes across that nation.  Churches burning, presidential candidates harnessing popularity by spreading hate for immigrants and war heroes alike, and now the newest trend…but new only in that we are hearing about it more frequently.

It appears that the law enforcement community has a BLACK eye that it can’t heal.  The community can find no respite despite the use of dash cams and body cams which only perpetuate the truths that there is little justice for any one at the hands of local police officers.  In the past month the Supreme Court has made rulings on the the 1st Amendment (freedom of expression), and the 2nd Amendment (right to bear arms);  can we get a ruling on our 4th Amendment (right to due process) or the abuse of our 5th Amendment (right to remain silent)?

It would appear that the black community is under attack by domestic terrorists in blue uniforms who brandish guns, handcuffs, and batons.  No matter how compliant (or combative), the end result is death at the hand of the wrong officer.  Not just the black community falls victim to these injustices, but all who witness the system that is not swift enough to prevent another senseless death.


We have created a new division in our nation.  There are those who see the problem and react.  Then there are those who see the problem and justify its existence.  Those of us who are reacting need the world to RECOGNIZE the problems and unite in another call to action.  But those who are either ignoring the problem or who are defending the injustice will too soon become victims of their own failure to create positive change.

Boys or Men In Law Enforcement

I had an epiphany while waiting at the Wawa. ¬†A detective I’d worked with nearly twenty years ago walked into the Wawa where I get my weekly coffee. ¬†It’s my Friday morning treat. ¬†But this morning, unlike others, I garnished an idea that had to be explored immediately. ¬†What if cops were not hired until AFTER they were 35 years old? ¬†Thirty-five is the cut off for new recruits. ¬†Most seasoned officers have scaled the ranks and are preparing for retirement by the time they’re in their late 30s. ¬†By age 45, most officers are too young for the retirement home obviously, but young enough to embark on a new career. The wisdom that a mature officer must have…¬†

Not knowing the statistics involving the average age of officers accused of misconduct, I can only recall the emphasis on empathy. The civil injustice argument is that our law enforcement community is out of touch with the people that it serves. Rookies are so eager to make their mark that empathy is not as coveted as aggression. Making the arrest gets the recognition that restoring community confidence lacks. ¬†But what if these cops already had the experience in the community that was not embalmed in distrust, racial inequity, or profiling? ¬†An older cop (who usually aspires to be a detective or ranking officer) is more likely to deescalate a situation. ¬†Police don’t just arrest criminals. They are community servants. ¬†There’s an opportunity to lead a community and to be a positive example. ¬†Cops are the ones who respond to all types of distress calls. ¬†Caught in traffic with a woman in labor? ¬†Grandpa wandered off again? Noise ordinance violations? ¬†Who do we call? ¬†We are never disappointed when the police arrive regardless of the officers’ age. ¬†But wouldn’t we agree that a seasoned officer has a more realistic approach?

In a more intense scenario, which officer would you want to respond?   In a domestic violence call? Community disturbance? How about an attempted larceny?  A recruit straight out of the academy (or with only a few years experience) has a lot to learn about long term implications.  Since when does a year of physical training, days of class lectures, or hours of practice at the shooting range qualify anyone to effectively manage a crisis?  Are they equally qualified to mediate a dispute?  The answer is yes according to past practice and societal norms.

With all of this (mis)information spinning in my head, I approached the plain clothes cop who was wearing his badge on his belt opposite his cuffs. I let the fellow behind me in line scoot ahead just so I could chat with the detective. Omitting an introduction, I was blunt. ¬†I asked him, “do you suppose that with all that is going on with our failing pension system, it would be more prudent to be starting a career at our age rather than preparing to retire?” ¬† He responded gently, “pardon me?” ¬†I introduced myself as merely another public employee. I took a different approach. ¬†He was not annoyed. ¬†Seemingly intrigued, he waited for me to explain. ¬†I continued, “do you suppose there would be fewer cases of misconduct if the officers were a little older?”

He said, “well, I hadn’t given it much thought”. ¬†This was probably the most honest answer he could have given. ¬†Why not? ¬†A forced answer is not necessarily a good answer. Who was I to ask, anyway? ¬†I thanked him for listening and thanked him again for serving the community as I paid for my coffee.


I walked away wondering if he would ponder why I had engaged him. Would he follow me to my car?  Would he write down my tag number?  Was it probable that he might remember working with me long ago when I was a cadet?  Our hair is gray now and our memory is selective.  Did it even matter?  Even after I no longer worked in law enforcement, the sight of uniformed officers intimidated me. Today was very different. The detective was no more thrown off than I was. Perhaps I planted a seed. Or maybe the entire conversation would be discarded.

Positively Negative

polarity

Why does it take a catastrophe like this in order for America to hear our cries?” –Danielle Williams, Baltimore protester.

If we knew 30 days ago where we would be today, would we have behaved differently? We’ve witnessed how other regions of our nation respond when public policy does not reflect the needs of the community. “Civil Unrest” is a term coined by those who are tired of the status quo. It is also feigned by those who resist it. Freedom has NEVER been offered without a struggle because those in power are already free to do what they want. We want to act in a positive manner? To do so is to takes action!¬†

Wait! ¬†Thirty days ago? ¬†We haven’t recovered from the last acts of social injustice! ¬†Statistically there were in excess of 360 police-involved deaths last year alone. ¬†With a wrongful death averaging almost one per day, how has this not become a national epidemic. Far more people are affected by injustice than Ebola and Mad Cow Disease combined! ¬†But disease (no matter how limited or minimal) has everyone concerned because disease knows no ethnic, cultural, class, religious, gender, or age barrier. ¬†There’s the rub! ¬†Anyone can fall victim. ¬†If it can happen to any one of us, we have a united concern! ¬†Division dissolves. This is probably why zombie movies are so popular.

BUT THIS IS NOT SCIENCE FICTION.  THIS IS REALITY!!!

negativity

Only days ago I saw the news clip of Protester Danielle Williams explaining to the media that the frustration of the people is a direct result of a failure to act. ¬†All Americans have witnessed and endured as much as they are willing to tolerate. ¬†We have passed the breaking point (on countless occasions).The American people have tolerated inappropriate behavior since the American Revolution. ¬†The government’s unwillingness to represent, promote, and provide for the needs of the people is what spawned the revolution. The Revolution ended a tyranny that lasted far longer than it should have. ¬†The world will no longer be threatened by an “American Superpower” that fights for freedom abroad. ¬†Instead the world is watching our nation implode. ¬†Once a model of democracy, now a vision of division. ¬†Us verses Them. ¬†What we have here is either a revolution or an evolution. ¬†What’s the difference? ¬†One is violent. ¬†The other is peaceful and natural. ¬†I’d prefer the latter.

My prediction is that on the other side of the protests, the policy changes, and the police retraining; ¬†there will be a shift in power that does not improve the overall status quo. ¬†We, who’ve been mistreated, will rise up and claim a nation (for the first time) that was always ours. ¬†But claiming what belongs to us and protecting what is ours are two very different acts. ¬†When will we be any more protective of human rights? ¬†Will we revise or REcreate systems in a manner that will lift up the rights of ALL living beings? ¬†Or will we simply conclude in the knowledge that at least OUR people will no longer fall victim to brutality? Tough questions.