Explorations in Policing, Faith and Life (With a hint of humor, product reviews, news and whatever catches my attention)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Why the Police Learn to Dislike the Public

There is an old adage in Law Enforcement that says:  This would be a great job except for the people you work with and the people you serve.

There are many examples for why the Police learn to dislike the public.

Below is one such reason 

JUNE 21, 2011 10:08 PM PDT
Man takes hostage for 16 hours, updates Facebook

"I'm currently in a standoff...kinda ugly, but ready for whatever."

This is, perhaps, not the average Facebook update. But it seems that it's one that was posted by Jason Valdez, 36, while he reportedly held a woman hostage for 16 hours.

According to the Associated Press, Valdez held the woman in a motel in Ogden, Utah. While he was there, he used Facebook to send messages to his friends and his family.
It seems that Valdez had barricaded himself and the hostage in the motel room after the police attempted to serve a warrant for a felony drug offense.

However, during the standoff, he even posted pictures of himself and her to Facebook, with the immortal update: "Got a cute 'Hostage' huh."

In reply, friends warned him about SWAT team members that were positioned in the bushes.

It didn't end well.

When the SWAT team stormed the motel room, Valdez reportedly shot himself and is now in critical condition.

However, the Facebook posts--and the replies--make for macabre reading.

For example, Valdez posted: "I'm currently in a stand off wit these shady [epithet] from old, kinda ugly but ready for whatever, I love u guyz and if I don't make it out of here alive that I'm in a better place and u were all great friends."

To which one acquaintance replied: "dude you're an idiot."
  • People do not walk into the surgical theater where a friend/family member is under the knife and attempt to help the surgeon.  Why then do they attempt to intervene in a hostage crisis?
  •  Warning him about how SWAT is positioned?  This creates the classic "Us against them" that some Officers develop.
  • Read the comments in any of the new articles on line and they are predominately anti-Law Enforcement?  Think we do not  notice?
  • Is she a victim or an accomplice?
  • Finally after he has done all this, his family is still coming with the ridiculous lawsuit for wrongful death (if he dies-by his own hand which still will not matter) or depreciation of rights if he lives.  Either way the officers have to worry about their homes for the next decade or so.


Monday, June 27, 2011

Paracord Survival Bracelet

My first one

One of Mine
I have begun wearing a paracord (550lbs minimum breaking strength) survival bracelet on my right wrist whenever I am on duty.   If you are not familiar with it, it is a bracelet woven and tied into a knot from one or more pieces of cord that when unraveled can provide, depending on wrist size, 14' to 24' of cord.  The bracelet is basically like carrying a loop of rope that you forget that you even have it with you until the need arrives.  It is also cheep, easy to get and all over the internet.  I only purchase mine (I have several in a bunch of different colors) that are either made by our military or organizations selling them as fund raisers for worthy charities.  Bear Grylls from Man Vs. Wild, wears one made by survival straps (Link: Survival Bracelet Purchase) and more importantly a lot of our troops overseas.  I would strongly recommend wearing one regardless of your mission, profession or duties it will come in handy for anyone. 

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Cool Things-Getting the word out about Christ.

I was walking down the street in our downtown area heading for work, when I was handed this pamphlet on the street.  What a neat tract!  You have to reconstruct it with the fold with my two scans but it will make sense once that is done.  I always love the different ways people attempt to reach others for Jesus.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Cop Writers a Newspaper Article

I was told about this article in the paper in McComb Mississippi about the book “Stories of Faith and Courage from Cops on the Street,” compiled by Grant Wolf (2010, God & Country Press).  I have contributed a number of chapters to it also as has Lt Gill who is the subject of this article.  I receive/received nothing for my contribution so the link to purchase from Amazon that follows is my sincere recommendation that this book is a must read for anyone in law enforcement, family member of one in law enforcement, a well wisher, someone contemplating this employment  or everyone else for that matter.

The Article

WATCHMAN ON THE WALLS (Link News Article from Enterprise Journal)

By Ernest Herndon, Enterprise-Journal

A McComb police lieutenant is a contributor to a new book of writings from law enforcement officers around the world who share the importance of religious faith in their work.

Lt. Sean Gill has two chapters in “Stories of Faith and Courage from Cops on the Street,” compiled by Grant Wolf (2010, God & Country Press). The book consists of 365 one- to two-page entries, one for each day of the year.

Each of Gill’s chapters consists of a poem followed by a description of what inspired it.

“A Service Call” describes an officer’s feelings when the radio sounds, dispatching him to a scene. “Final Rest” was inspired by a train wreck that left three children dead.

Gill, 46, has been writing for around 20 years. After he became a Christian in 1997, his poems and essays turned to spiritual themes.

He ran across the book “The Peacekeepers: A Bible Study for Law Enforcement Officers” by Michael Dye of Florida. Gill read the book, contacted Dye, and they became friends.

Gill then found out about the Fellowship of Christian Peace Officers and joined. When then-president Grant Wolf issued a call for writings to compile in a book, Gill sent him some.

The resulting book came out in late 2010. It’s available at local bookstores and online, Gill said.

Gill, whose middle name is Aaron, signs his writings “from Aaron’s pen.” He plans eventually to compile his work into a book of his own.

Gill grew up in Bogalusa, La., where his father, the late John Wayne Gill, died of brain cancer when Sean was in high school.

He spent six years in the Army, including three in Italy. When he got out, he went to work for the New Orleans Police Department for a year, then applied to the McComb Police Department, where he’s been for 20 years.

Gill and his wife Tamara have two daughters, Hannah, 9, and Sarah, 7.

Gill was attending church at Thompson Baptist when he was baptized in the East Fork of the Amite River. He and Tamara attend Grace Temple Ministries of Hattiesburg, where they started going when she was a student at University of Southern Mississippi.

Two years ago he went on a short-term mission trip to Kenya, Africa, to help build a seminary.

Gill credits Tamara with leading him to Christ. “Tamara was the light of God’s world stepping down into the darkness of my life,” he said.

He sees police work as a calling from God and cites Bible passages that seem to support that view.

• Isaiah 62:6: “I have posted watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem.”

• Ezekiel 3:17: “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel.”

• Matthew 5:9: “Blessed are the peacemakers.”

• Romans 13:4: “For he (governing authority) is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing.”

Gill also takes inspiration from Ephesians 6:10-20, which describes putting on the “armor of God.” Gill said he thinks about that when putting on his uniform.

“I’ve come to see that this is my purpose, what God is calling me to do,” Gill said of police work.

“He calls on us to serve Him in everything we do. My job as law enforcement officer is an intricate part of serving Him.”

Gill hopes people will read the new book. The writings, from officers across America and in other countries, describe incidents ranging from life-and-death experiences to day-to-day tasks.

“It will definitely give insight into law enforcement. That’s definitely what we need, given the negative stigma in law enforcement,” Gill said.

“Hopefully this will open up some of our fellow officers in, ‘Hey, this is where God placed me.’ ”

List-Point and Click Games (Best Of)

As previous postings assert, I am a gamer.  There are times where an excellent in depth, long duration game is appropriate and there are other times where a solid twenty to sixty minute game on-line is better.  The following is a list of games I have played and their links.  A "best of" from my personal experience.  The list in no particular order.

1.  Little Wheel -One of the best I have ever played... original, smart, intuitive, beautiful, excellent story line.

2.  Samorost 1-Original, original, original-organically beautiful, story a little simplistic.

3.  Dark Visions-Reminded me of the best of the early PC point and click games. Excellent story, some puzzles are not intuitive.

4.  The Dreamerz-excellent and hard.  Really enjoyed playing it and did I say it was hard?  Very unique and surreal, Oh and did I say it was hard?

5.  Loondon-beautiful, excellent story line, and again unique.  Puzzles too simple would have an incredible game if the two difficulty levels from Dreamerz and Loondon were combined.

6.  Alice is Dead-Point and Click macabre mystery very well done.  Has three episodes.

7.  Vorago-Its the end of the world-Christian point and click without the usual Davy or Goliath or the gentle love.  From the excellent studio Godlimations.com

8.  Bowja The Ninja-Excellent, simple, had me flashing back to the Gameland in Lake Geneva WI in the late 80's, may it RIP.

9.  Aurora-The Old West, Mystery, Super Natural...if it had Doctor Who in it with Resident Evil I would never have to play another game again.

10.  Monster Basement-another Godlimations...I like it but I really don't know why.

11.  Morningstar -Excellent if short, mystery-sci-fi, clicking brown on brown objects...

12.  Bela Kovacs and the Trail of Blood-Ambitious, Hungarian, doesn't quite work but I understood their drive and my increased cultural understanding of our brothers across the world...

13.   Colour My Fate-A proof of the less is more principle plus they spell color the European way, reminds me of all the reports that got kicked back because of the word "grey" and my Germanic sevens.

 14.   Owls Nest-Oh how I wanted this to be great...undead Nazi's how can that miss...well it does but only by a little and if you have time to kill and souls to eat its worth a play.

15.  Hetherdale-Excellent...what else is there to say...Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull of Doom (keep Lucas away from the director's chair) style done well.

16. Coma-Aspires to be little wheel and comes very close.  Very Playable.

17. Miestas 2-Arty with a dose of yuck.  Brilliant and yet very newspaper-y.

18. Treasure Box-Ok I guess I have a love of the "arty" games...play it...enjoy it...wonder at the mind that created it.

There you have it, about 20 hours for you to burn and also, well, enjoy.

1 Corinthians 9:25
Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.

PS:  Anyone need a consultant (free) for any point and click police games?  Or any games at all?  I am available.

*Sigh* still no calls... oh wait...not a game designer...*sigh*

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Cool Things from the Tactical Gear Blog

Not at Tactical Gear Blog...
I received an email from the Tactical Gear Blog about two fairly cool things:

The first is a contest in which you can win a Suunto Core Watch (Its something I've always wanted, extremely cool) by posting your best "hardcore" story in 75 words or less on their web site or facebook page.

Link: Tactical Gear Blog Contest

The second is a Father's day gift idea list with a number of things I would like to receive from my two kids (Hint: helicopter- surveillance would be so much easier with my own helicopter) ...but it will probably be a tactical tie...its the thought that counts.

Link: Father's day gift list

Hope this resource helps.

PS:  Why does it make it so darn desirable when they paint it black and write tactical on it?

Spamalot Ticket

Monday, June 13, 2011

Our Lives are Governed by the Extremes not the Norms

I am, just like almost every Police Officer I know, a HUGE proponent of the concealed carry laws in 48 of our 50 states.  In most cases Police responses take six to eight minutes and require a phone call to start the response clock.  In that time frame, a lot of very unfortunate things can happen to you that if you would/could defend yourself, you would at least give us a chance to get their before your are permanently deprived of your possessions, your innocence, your sexuality or your life.

But, of course, to give the opposition the factual ammo to attempt to argue that you, as the average citizen, lack the capacity, the ability and the intelligence to protect yourself in a violent encounter and that you should wait till the experts arrive to help you, because the damage you would create attempting to keep yourself from being a victim would vastly outweigh the consequence of you being the victim, there is the extreme example that is used to (wrongly) prove their position (wow Steinbeck like sentence).

Here is that extreme example, that while I believe its uniqueness proves the rule that the vast majority of Americans are defending themselves in a logical, sane and well intentioned way,  the other side is currently pointing to, to have self defense be a governmental only task is the case of Jerome Ersland.  Below is the article from CBS (Link to CBS Story).

(CBS/KWTV/AP) - OKLAHOMA CITY - Oklahoma City pharmacist now faces life in prison with the possibility of parole after being found guilty of murder for the death of a 16-year-old who tried to rob his store.

Confronted by two holdup men in May 2009, Ersland pulled out a gun, shot one of them in the head and chased the other away. The drugstore's security camera then filmed Ersland as he went behind the counter, got another gun, and pumped five more bullets into the wounded Antwun Parker as he lay on the floor.

The 59-year-old had been hailed as a hero for protecting two fellow employees.

The Ersland jury began deliberations around 1:00 p.m. Thursday and returned with a the guilty verdict around 4:30 p.m.  The verdict stunned the courtroom. Ersland, who many hailed as a hero, sat emotionless as the guilty verdict was read. People sitting behind him were noticeably upset.  Parker's mother and her sisters were inside the courtroom most of the trial, and burst out of the room when the verdict was read. They clung to each other and cried in the hallway in an outpouring of emotion.

Erlsand was led out of the courtroom in handcuffs with deputies surrounding him. The wife of the Reliable Pharmacy owner was seen crying as she left.

She was visibly stunned that the jury chose to find Ersland guilty of murder instead of the lesser charge of manslaughter.

Judge Ray Elliott refused to lift the gag order so the prosecution, the defense, and the jury are not allowed to comment on the verdict. But we do know the jury had asked to see the surveillance video of the robbery and shooting one more time before they went up to deliberate.

Ersland will be sentenced July 11, the same day Anthony Morrison and Emanuel Mitchell will be sentenced. Morrison and Mitchell were convicted of first-degree murder and conspiracy for planning the robbery at Reliable Pharmacy.

Below is the link raw security camera footage from that day in 2009.

Take a good look at the footage.  This is where he goes from hero, defending himself and two other employees from criminals that have no regard for another's life and becomes a murder.  Watch when he walks back into the store, walks past/over the fallen body of the robber who met real justice, quick, and up close, and does not glance at him or take any action that would suggest he still viewed the fallen robber as a continuing threat.  Yet he goes to the counter, retrieves another firearm, turns and empties it into the robber on the floor.

The simple rule is: if he/she is a continuing threat to your safety or the safety of others you can continue to take appropriate action against him/her.  If they are no longer a threat you have to stop.  He didn't stop.

You have a right to defend yourself.  Americans do not have to wait for governmental intervention to stop from becoming a victim, they can directly stop the victimizer.  The fact that this story is being told through all the nation media outlets and is being used by the side that does not believe you have the ability to help yourself demonstrates the uniqueness of this event.  What you do not hear is the thousand of times that the potential victim, stays potential and not actual.  You don't have long in-depth conversations about why water is wet.

PS:  The DA that charged him, asked the Judge to allow him to carry a handgun into the courtroom for his own protection.

Numbers 14:9
Only do not rebel against the LORD. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the LORD is with us. Do not be afraid of them.”

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Example of the "F" Decision

The below article is from Chicago Breaking News and is an example of the "F" decision.  He was driving, saw cute little ducklings that were in danger from that nasty high speed expressway, jumped out of his car and lost his life.  Had Edward taken a second to consider his decision, he would have come to the realization concerning the level of his personal risk (very high), his personal value (value: high) and that maybe these ducks (value: low) were on the wrong end of an immediate and dynamic act of natural selection.  For a full explanation concerning the "A" "C" and "F" decision making processes see blog entry on Tuesday June 7, 2011 (IE the one right before this one).

Man killed trying to remove ducklings from I-294
By Stacy St. Clair and Carlos Sadovi | Tribune reporters
May 31, 2011

(Handout photo)

A Naperville man attempting to help a family of ducklings safely cross Interstate Highway 294 was killed Monday when he was struck by a limousine, state police said.

Edward Gardner was traveling north when he pulled over near Schiller Park about 9:30 a.m. because he saw a family of ducklings on the tollway, Illinois State Police Sgt. Nick Hasan said. That’s when the limousine, which police said wasn’t speeding, hit him. Gardner's girlfriend was inside his vehicle.

The 38-year-old was pronounced dead about four hours later at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, according to the Cook County medical examiner's office.

“That’s totally Ed,” said Jim Gollwitzer, a longtime friend of Gardner’s. “That’s just how big of a heart he had.”

Gardner, who worked in the telecommunications industry, had dedicated much of his life to helping animals, Gollwitzer said. He spent his vacations volunteering at a wolf sanctuary in New Mexico, doing construction work and whatever odd jobs needed to be done there.

“He cared about animals,” Gollwitzer said. “It was one of his passions in life.”

Gardner’s other passion was muscle cars, in particular the 1960 Chevrolet Parkwood that he spent years restoring. Before Gardner purchased the station wagon, it had been used as an outdoor shed and was considered by many to be unsalvageable, Gollwitzer said.

But Gardner spent hours on the vehicle, transforming it from a rusted junker into an award-winning masterpiece. He painted it bright orange, a color choice he made while eating a bag of Cheetos in his garage one night.

To honor his gastronomic muse, he spray-painted a picture of mascot Chester Cheetah on the tailgate.

“He poured his heart into that car,” Gollwitzer said. “It meant a lot to him.”

It also meant a lot to car show crowds, who would gather around his car to reminisce about childhoods spent in Parkwood wagons. Gardner enjoyed listening to their stories and took great pride in the fact this car made people happy, Gollwitzer said.

The Parkwood won about 60 awards after Gardner began showing it, including several national prizes.

He recently disassembled the car to upgrade it in time for the summer show season. Members of his car club -- The Bad Bowties -- plan to put it back together in the coming days, said Gollwitzer, who is president of the club.

“It’s what Ed would have wanted,” he said. “It’s important that we do this for him.”

State police are investigating the incident, but no citations were issued to the driver of the limousine, Hasan said.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Quick Emotional Decisions make for...

I believe there are three types of decisions.  The "A" decision-the one that helps you.  The "C" decision-the one that does not help you but does not hurt you either, and the "F" decision-the one that hurts you.

Two huge factors in determining which type of decision will be the result of your the judgement you caste, is the decision time frame crossed with the level of emotion at the point of the choice.  Simply put, quick emotional decisions make for more "F" decisions and the opposite make for more "A" decisions.

I just recently spent a week in the hospital when my wife's great aunt was stricken ill and via the E.R. was placed into the I.C.U. (and I.C.U. too).  The relative is in her early nineties and does not get around easily but other than that her health is basically good.  She had developed Pneumonia and was having trouble breathing and fluid was building in her lungs.  When she made it to the I.C.U., they also discovered that she had a large bleeding ulcer in her stomach that required a tube to be inserted into her nose down to her stomach for drainage.  She also had an infection that required an IV drip of antibiotics.  She was in bad shape.  When we arrived, she did not look good, so I began trying to prepare my wife for the worst.  A short time later my mother-in-law arrived and the nurse then stepped into the room.

The nurse said, "Okay I was told by the doctor to wait till you got here to start the morphine drip, so I'll just start it now.

My mother-in-law then said, "Oh no your not, I know what the morphine is for (have you heard any songs by Youth In Asia?)...and it will depress her breathing so it will not be used."

The nurse, looking perplexed said, "I spoke to the doctor and he said...".

But my mother-looked-up and said, "I will not permit the morphine to be used."  The nurse then went away looking puzzled.

The next day the elder care physician came in and took the position that the morphine should be used to ease my wife's great aunt's suffering because this patient would not recover and it would be cruel to allow her to continue to suffer.  Again my mother-in-law said "no" and the doctor then stormed off.

Now my mother-in-law is a R.N. and had already planned for this eventuality (the relative/patient was in her early 90's after all) and had set up the parameters for the use of morphine or not, long before this day.  Now the rest of the family started rolling in.  One brother of my mother-in-law came in frantic and upset and decided morphine was the right thing to administer.  He was followed by his sister and then the other brother and all voted for the morphine.  Their decisions were made in the height of emotion and extremely quickly.

The conclusion?  The elder relatives infection is now gone, her ulcer has stopped bleeding and the tube has been pulled.  She is eating on her own and is now without any supplemental oxygen and will be leaving the I.C.U. any day now.

So the "A" decision was to keep her alive and the "F" decision would to have killed her with the morphine.  Too short decision time frame and too high emotionally would have killed the elderly patient had my mother-in-law not had the power of attorney and made a good decision before she arrived at the hospital.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

End of the World!!!!!!!! Part, I don't know, sixty?

Its the end of the world...proof one hundred and sixty.

A Brief List of Zero Rated Movies and their box office revenue.

Zero Rated Movie                        Its Revenue

Sucker Punch                                  $89,792,502

Did You Hear About the Morgans?  $85,280,250

Saw IV                                            $139,352,633

Bratz                                                $26,013,153

Hostel: Part II                                  $35,619,512

The Devil's Rejects                          $19,390,029

Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo     $45,109,561

Wolf Creek                                     $27,762,648

The Life of David Gale                     $38,955,958

That's it!  Let's pack it all up! We're done here.  Let's find another planet to destroy.

References: listalwww.boxofficemojo.comhttp://rogerebert.suntimes.com/ and www.imdb.com

Circus Ticket