Category Archives: Law enforcement

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.

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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 whose 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 imbiciles 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.